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.
Through this, Pierre has improved the medical care and training programmes for children with Spina Bifida throughout third world countries, both in Africa and Asia, more recently by setting up a network in China.
It is through Pierre's leadership IF has the high recognition as an NGO that it has today. He is without a doubt someone who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. We thank Pierre for the many years he served as IF's President and for his strong commitment and great achievements. Pierre remains dedicated to the proper treatment and care for children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in developing countries.