York student Maria Munir is raising the profile of a national campaign about facial palsy.
Facial palsy, a condition which affects facial muscles, affects up to 20,000 people in the UK each year. First year student Maria Munir spoke to Vision about her campaigning: “Up until the age of 10, I had no name for my condition. I didn’t know if anyone else had it, let alone how to deal with it. But this campaign allows me to reach all those people like me and give them the support they deserve.
“Fixers – a UK-based charity that supports 16-25 year olds to take on important issues – gave me the opportunity to get my message across. It has worked with over 12,500 young people in the past six years alone, hoping to reach over 70,000 young people by 2020. Funding from organisations such as the Big Lottery Fund has made almost 1,460 projects possible, raising the profile of many important causes from the importance of education, to cerebral palsy.
“I filmed a broadcast with them which went on to feature on ITV News Calendar. In it, I detail facial palsy, meet someone who had Bell’s palsy, and an expert from the charity Facial Palsy UK explains how lonely the condition can be. I aim to bring the term into the national consciousness, so my project is to create a striking poster campaign around York, detailing some key symptoms people can associate with facial palsy, as well as giving them guidance on where to find support.
“Facial Palsy UK is a beacon which provides access to therapy, support groups, and advice on how to deal with facial palsy on a daily basis.
“A British Medical Journal study showed that nearly half of patients with facial paralysis have not received sufficient treatment which could prevent permanent disability. It is for reasons such as this one that it is so important that the public is informed of the condition, how it can affect them or their loved ones, and where to seek support. After a lifetime of being ignored, resulting in permanent palsy, I decided to take action so as to raise awareness of facial palsy.”