It was the unanimous decision of the rest of the IF Board that the person most deserving of the IF Award 2013 is outgoing IF President Pierre Mertens. When his daughter Lies was born with Spina Bifida in 1978, and Pierre and his wife Mol discovered that there was a lack of information for parents of children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, they founded the Belgian association for Spina Bifida. Even after the unfortunate death of Lies, when she was 11 years old, Pierre did not walk away from the Spina Bifida association, but instead fought even harder.
In 1993, when he was Vice-President of IF, he set up the International Solidarity group, which allows Spina Bifida associations in the developed Western World to help those in the developing world.
IF’s 24th International conference “Unite & Share” that took place in Izmir on 28 and 29 June was a great success and was well-attended by representatives of IF member organisations and local people engaged in the field of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Participants from all over the world gathered in Turkey for two days to share the latest information. The conference was organised around lectures, creative and thematic workshops and networking activities. Numerous members attended IF's Workshop on Fundraising for Non-Profit Associations. Special honour was given to parting IF President Pierre Mertens, for his dedication and his relentless efforts to improve the lives of those born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
Some of the lectures are published below together with the presentations. You can see all recorded material on IF's YouTube channel.
During its General Assembly held in Izmir, the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IF) elected Margo Whiteford as its president for the 2013-2015 period. She succeeds Pierre Mertens at the expiry of his statutory term of office which he performed since 1995. Pierre will continue his work in the field of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus as director of Child-Help, a Belgian NGO. Margo will assume her new role on 29 June 2013.
Holding the position as Chairperson of the Scottish Spina Bifida Association for 8 years, and having become its medical advisor, Margo Whiteford has regularly proven a great expertise and is in contact with various disability support groups and voluntary organisations.