As the year draws to a close, we are looking back at all the people who have helped make 2015 such a fantastic year. While there are too many to thank individually in this blog post, we’d like to highlight some of the biggest contributions made in each month of the year.

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January marked the first Treasure the Exceptions blog: a series of posts by our guest blogger Polly who explored the different experiences of rare disease patients. Her posts have had more than 1,000 hits and we have received some heartfelt thanks from readers for sharing her work. We would like to thank Polly for her dedication to making the patient voice heard.

In February we held our first scientific conference on drug repurposing, to celebrate international Rare Disease Day. At the time, it was our most widely attended event, with 56 delegates gathering to discuss the potential for rare disease repurposing. We’d like to use this opportunity to thank our speakers from the conference and all our other events for their pertinent and engaging presentations.

March saw our first check in with the mentors and mentees participating in our pilot peer mentoring scheme. Our mentors have helped to set up four new charities to support rare conditions. They’ve guided eight groups in building their links with researchers and helped four raise awareness and funds for their patient support services. As the pilot draws to an end in January, we’d thank all the mentors for their time and support.

Throughout April, members of the Findacure team presented at several Rotary clubs around Cambridgeshire, engaging the community around the importance of caring for the rare. These clubs generously donated £750 towards our work empowering patient groups.

May was a super month, with the DoItForCharity Superhero 5km / 10km race. Our 11 heroes raised more than £1,700 for Findacure.

Over the course of June, a pro bono team at Oliver Wyman helped Findacure understand the drug repurposing landscape and developed a prioritisation model to help us select drug repurposing projects. In July we received additional pro bono support from the team at Sony Mobile. Together, we developed a new marketing strategy for the charity throughout the month. We are very grateful for all the invaluable support our pro bono partners give us.

August saw two boats competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race for Findacure. Elin Haf Davies and Chris Frost aboard the Nunatak, and Flic Gabbay with her crew aboard the Elixir raced for four days, collectively raising more than £3,400. We also had the lovely Emma Finnerty in the office volunteering for us on the drug repurposing project.

From September onwards Costello Medical Consulting have been providing us with pro bono services, to understand the cost of individual rare diseases to the NHS and exploring the extent to which drug repurposing can generate savings for the NHS. As we move into 2016 with the project, we thank Costello for their ongoing support.

October was quite a regal month, with 20 runners competing in the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon for Findacure. Thank you to all the runners, who beat their fundraising targets and raised a whopping £7,290!

The month of November brought two new members to the team: Zoe Leitellier and Rhiannon Stephens. The two have been volunteering on a weekly basis, supporting crucial projects at the charity. Thank you for all your hard work and we look forward to work with you in 2016.

Finally, in December we got into the festive spirit with two Christmas fundraisers: the DoItForCharity Santa Run and the Big Give. Our 5 Santas were wonderful, braving high winds and low temperatures, to raise over £700, while the Big Give saw another £4,890 raised. Thank you to all donors who have helped end the year on such a positive note.

Alongside those named, we would like to extend a MASSIVE thank you to our trustees, advisory boards, participants in our projects, funders, fundraisers, social media supporters, and everyone who has supported the charity in any way this past year, big or small!

So that is it for 2015 at Findacure. The office will be closed from 23rd December until 4th January. We send you all season’s greetings, and we look forward to working with you in the New Year!

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