Findacure’s Student Voice essay competition aims to raise awareness of rare diseases among the doctors and researchers of tomorrow, as well as giving an outlet for their experiences and thoughts on all things rare.
For over 5 years, tranScrip has sponsored the competition and once again, Chris Brearley, Head of Translational Medicine at tranScrip, was among an expert panel of scientists, clinicians and patient groups drawn from Findacure’s extensive rare disease network who judged the essays, along with the editor of Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases (OJRD).
The competition was open to medical students, biology undergraduates, master’s students and students studying for a health-related undergraduate or master’s degree.
Findacure received more entries than ever before again this year and continues to attract medical students from around the world - there were also 45 students paired with patient groups. It is always difficult to pick out the winning article and this year was no exception. Given the exceptional high standard of the essays this this year, Findacure decided to award three runners up prizes rather than two.
The overall winning article written by Catriona Chaplin entitled “Unmasked: an insight into three patients’ rare disease experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic” was published as an open access article in OJRD.
The essays of the three runners up have been published as articles on BioMed Central’s blog:
1. "The Journey of a Rare Disease Patient" by Caitlyn Taylor
2. "What is Leigh Syndrome? If you had MS, I could help you" by Molly Bowden
3. "Rare Disease Research: What challenges have presented in a global pandemic?" by Sanjana Ashok
Every read will help to raise awareness for rare diseases and increase student engagement in rare disease treatment and research.