Today ELPA has lost one of its most passionate friends, Emilia Rodrigues. She was the President of SOS HepatitesPortugal, ELPA member since 2005; she was also of ELPA Supervisory Committee and later an ELPA Advisor to the ELPA Board. In addition, Emilia collaborated with the most well-known experts in the field of Hepatitis eradication in Europe and beyond.
However, despite the titles, she was, above all, a committed liver disease patients advocate and a patient herself. She put all her energy into her fight with liver disease. She was always cheery, the best supporter and colleague ever.
SOS Hepatites Portugal, one of the most active association of support for Hepatitis patients in Portugal, is an association made up of people affected by the Hepatitis virus. It arose from a need to share experiences, strengths and hope to createa space where patients with viral hepatitis and their families would find a way to help each other concerning common problems arising from the disease and in a way to improve their quality of life.
Emilia ran the association with the intent to raise awareness around this disease but also to end the marginalization, discrimination, and prejudices these patients are still experiencing. Her tireless commitment and her expertise made Portugal one of the leading countries in Europe and in the World regarding Hepatitis elimination.
ELPA will miss her enormously, and it is close to her families and friends in this sad moment.
ELPA will never forget her motto: ‘We should fight WITH the patients and not FOR the patients,’ and it will continue to strive for a world without liver disease.