Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February every year, a global point of focus in the ongoing efforts to raise awareness of rare diseases and the difficulties faced by those that suffer from them. If you happen to have a condition that falls outside of the medical mainstream, it’s likely you’ll be forced to cope not only with the pain and discomfort of the disease itself but also the challenging journey towards a correct diagnosis. Two, three or even more misdiagnoses are typical – the cycle of worry and frustration compounding an already dispiriting situation.
Pharmaceutical company Shire used Rare Disease Day 2015 to launch an educational initiative highlighting the problems faced by these patients. Their Diagnosis Doesn't Have to be Rare campaign pushed for big improvements in the journey to diagnosis. With better communication and more joined-up thinking from all of the stakeholders involved – from GPs to specialists, charities to the pharma companies themselves – a correct diagnosis could arrive at a much earlier stage.
Through our friends at Edelman, we were asked to provide both an animation and an interactive infographic to support the campaign. Angie did a wonderful job with the character animation on this one. We cranked it up a few notches from our usual level of characterisation because we felt that encouraging an emotional connection was vital in delivering the message. The despondent mother hugging her son while peering dejectedly through the rainy train window gets us every time. We hope the animation has played its part in making that journey less arduous for rare disease patients in the future.