World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is to make a rare public appearance at Headway Suffolk’s neurological conference two weeks today (October 5).
Professor Hawking will provide an update on his health and ongoing battle against motor neurone disease when he appears as a guest speaker.
Despite being wheelchair-bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication, Prof Hawking, 74, continues to combine a busy family life, research into theoretical physics and an extensive programme of travel and public lectures.
He has defied medics for more than 50 years since contracting motor neurone disease in 1963, at the age of 21. It is a condition that Headway Suffolk provides support for, along with acquired brain injuries such as trauma or stroke, and other neurological conditions.
Helen Fairweather, Chief Executive of Headway Suffolk, said: “In my opinion, Professor Stephen Hawking is the most intelligent man on the planet. It is an unimaginable honour to have him speak at Headway Suffolk’s Conference.
“Just to be in the same room as him will be amazing. He will be an inspiration to other people, especially those living with a neurological condition.”
Each week, Headway Suffolk provides rehabilitation and therapy to 250 people in the region who have an acquired brain injury or neurological condition.
The conference, which is sponsored by solicitors Irwin Mitchell, will also include three other eminent speakers, including Professor John Pickard, Director of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital; Dr Trevor Powell, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and author; and Dr Muhibbur Rahman Chowdhury, Stroke Consultant at Ipswich Hospital.
The event is supported by Irwin Mitchell, Ipswich and Norwich Co-Op, Anglia Case Management, Gotelee Solicitors, and Jacqueline Webb and Co. Special thanks also goes to all the speakers and exhibitors, and to BT for hosting the conference in its Adastral Park centre, which is home to the organisation’s Global Research and Development Headquarters.
Serious injury expert and Regional Managing Partner for Irwin Mitchell in Cambridge, Neil Whiteley, said the firm was honoured to be delivering continued support to the charity.
He said: “Through the work we do, we see the devastating effects acquired brain injuries can have on individuals and the loved ones who provide care for them. Our experience has led us to work with Headway Suffolk to help the charity offer support to those affected as well as raise awareness of their role in the community.
“The charity provides a vital service to those who have sustained a brain injury and other neurological conditions, and their families. The events they hold, such as this conference, offer an opportunity for those with brain injuries to meet others living with the same condition and gives them the chance to talk about their feelings with people who understand.
“Having someone like Professor Hawking speak about his experience will hopefully offer insurmountable hope and inspiration for others with severe neurological conditions.”
The event is at BT Adastral Park, Martlesham, Ipswich. Tickets for the conference have sold out.