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I Am Number 17 - Raising Awareness of Rare Disease Across the UK

by Hill+Knowlton Strategies for Takeda

Summary of work

Faced with a lack of public understanding and a competitive healthcare environment, the rare disease community has traditionally struggled to gain a share of awareness from necessary policymakers. Developing innovative treatments for rare diseases is especially challenging and patients face barriers to access.
Takeda wanted to educate vital stakeholders – including the general public, policymakers, and healthcare professionals – so that they understood the issue and were inspired to act. Using one simple insight, H+K brought the experience of living with a rare disease to life: while seemingly uncommon, 1 in 17 people in the UK are affected.
Working with 13 patient organisations, we identified 17 ‘changemakers’ (those having a rare disease themselves or knowing someone who does) with artists to represent their experience. The resulting work was then launched at an exclusive event in London’s Oxo Gallery, receiving nationwide recognition with 59 pieces of broadcast coverage together reaching 4 million people.
Through a grassroots effort, our spokespeople represented the spectrum of their community and were empowered to start a movement. I Am Number 17 is dedicated to affecting real change for those living with rare diseases and, far from being a one-off event, is a long-term campaign to support everyone impacted.

To date, the program has successfully generated and leveraged data through newly established channels and partnerships with engaged stakeholders. The program has already successfully influenced clinical practice and policy at global, country and clinic levels via novel insights and targeted, patient-focused solutions. Adherence is gaining the attention it has long needed, and real-world outcomes will improve as a result.

Judges’ comments

The I Am Number 17 campaign has strong industry support and did brilliantly well to achieve far more than the objective of raising awareness, which is so hard to do in this space. This team has achieved phenomenal results by implementing a sound strategy of focusing 'above brand' and specific disease area.