For the past two weeks, Findacure has been fortunate to have the lovely Emma volunteer for us in the office. In today’s blog we find out a bit more about her and her experience at Findacure.

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What are you currently studying at University and why did you choose it?
I am currently in my 4th year studying medicine. I chose medicine, as I wanted to do something that combined science with caring for other people.

How did you find out about Findacure?
My supervisor from last year (Rick) began working for Findacure and told me all about the aims and work of Findacure!

Why did you want to volunteer here?
After hearing about Findacure, I could think of nowhere better to spend a few weeks of my summer volunteering. The work Findacure does is worthwhile and really does make a difference to patients, making me keen to give a helping hand. I was also keen to learn more about Findacure work on rare diseases.

What have you been working on over the past couple of weeks?
Over the past couple of weeks I have been helping research and put together a model evaluating rare diseases for drug repurposing. The aim is to try and order the diseases into those that would be most compatible for drug repurposing.
I have also been helping to set up the Findacure essay competition that will be launched in October! This has involved contacting sponsors for prizes, suggesting essay questions and using my creative side to produce advertisements and information pages.
Another bit of work I have been helping with is creating information sheets on fundamental diseases to try and emphasize how rare diseases can help us understand and develop treatments for more common diseases.

What have you enjoyed most about volunteering?
Volunteering at Findacure has been great fun and a fascinating experience. The team that works there are amazing people who made me feel instantly one of the team!
It’s hard to choose one thing that I enjoyed most about my time volunteering; it was all so interesting, but I suppose the part I enjoyed most would have to be helping set up the essay competition including finding new ways to entice medical students to take part. I now understand how important it is for doctors to be aware and know more about rare diseases and the patients’ experience of rare diseases.

What have you gained from your experience?
My time volunteering has opened my eyes to the number of rare disease and has allowed me to research a few in more depth. Volunteering has also given me an insight into how much work goes on behind closed doors at charities like Findacure to be able to offer all the services they do. It has also enabled me to work on my communication and organisation skills as well as sharpen up my paint skills!

What do you want to do when you finish your degree?
At the moment it is too early to come to a decision, but working at Findacure should help me to decide which sphere of medicine I shall choose!
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