A TEENAGE girl who endured the heartbreak of seeing her father lose almost all memory of the last 20 years has created a short film to raise awareness of his rare condition.

Nicki George, 14, who lives on Rodborough Common, put together the 90 second video which shows snapshots of her father Adrian’s life.

Three years ago he contracted a little-known and often deadly condition called encephalitis, a severe infection which caused his immune system to inflame the brain.

The debilitating illness resulted in seizures, personality changes and severe memory loss, leaving him now unable to remember from one day to the next.

This eradication of his long-term memory means that almost all recollection of his children’s upbringing, his former self and the last two decades of his life has been lost.

In an effort to show her father the most cherished memories of their life together, Nicki made the film called My Daddy and entered it into a competition for World Encephalitis Day 2016.

The YouTube video, which is aimed at raising awareness of the condition and its painful effects, has been viewed thousands of times and chosen as a finalist in the competition.

Her film depicts her favourite experiences and memories with her father, mother and brother, such as family holidays and birthdays.

The Stroud High School pupil first showed the film to her dad three weeks ago.

“I know my dad loves me, because I saw his tears for the first time when he watched the film,” said Nicki.

“He can’t remember the good times we’ve spent together. That is what’s so painful.

“Encephalitis is really a life-changing thing, so I wanted to show the devastating effects memory loss has on every member of the family.

“I would just love to be able to help my dad in some way. So I just want to raise as much awareness as possible about the condition and what it does to people.”

Her father Adrian said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he first watched the video.

“I was exceptionally proud of what she’d created,” he said, “I got very emotional.”

“I can’t describe what it was like to see all these pictures, they brought back so many flashes of beautiful memories.

“These memoires are everything to me. To regain them for just one day makes my life worth living.”

Early detection of encephalitis can be the difference between life and death. The condition needs urgent treatment, usually in a hospital intensive care unit.

The earlier it’s diagnosed, the more successful treatment is.

So Nicki is keen to raise as much awareness as possible to try and prevent others from suffering the same fate as her father.

Her film is up against six other videos from around the world, including the USA and Australia.

If it receives the most votes it will be shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London and be showcased across the world on Encephalitis Day on February 22.

Now in its third year, the global event is asking people to “wear something red” to raise awareness and funds as part of the #RED4WED campaign.

Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of The Encephalitis Society, said: “We launched World Encephalitis Day so people affected by this devastating condition can come together to raise awareness about encephalitis.

“We still have a long way to go to make the public and some health professionals aware of a condition which affects more people than Motor Neurone Disease and bacterial Meningitis and yet remains less well known.

“But by having survivors and their families come forward to show the human side of this ‘hidden disability’ can only be a good thing for informing the public about this condition.

“The sad fact is that not many people have heard of encephalitis unless it has happened to them, a family member or friend. We want to change that.”

The public can also vote for the winner in a digital art and photography competition. The winner and runner up will be announced on the day.

To vote for Nicki’s film please click here.

Stroud News and Journal:

  • In the UK, all types of encephalitis are relatively rare. The Encephalitis Society estimates that there are 6,000 case of encephalitis in the UK each year.
  • Anyone can be affected by encephalitis, but the very young and the very old are most at risk, because their immune systems tend to be weaker.
  • Without the proper treatment, up to a third can lose their life, while survivors can be left with a legacy of challenges brought upon by the subsequent acquired brain injury.
  • The condition can rob leave them with an acquired brain injury - meaning a return to work or education can be difficult.
  • Abilities such as concentration, attention, thinking, memory, judgement and inhibition can also be affected, while there can be additional challenges such as epilepsy or fatigue.
  • For more information see www.encephalitis.org