Newcastle is known for many things – brown ale; the Geordie accent and love of conversation; Ant and Dec; some of the world’s most passionate football supporters; and being voted the best city in the UK in 2014. Importantly, though surprisingly to some, Newcastle is also a hub for excellent rare disease research. On the 31st of October 2017 the Findacure team opened the doors of the Centre for Life, welcoming the rare disease world to The Newcastle Rare Disease Showcase with the aim of highlighting the great research being done in the North-East of England.

The day followed the format of our successful Birmingham event in 2016, with a series of talks in the morning and early afternoon, before a lightning-talk filled two-hour networking session rounded off the day. As usual, Findacure CEO, Dr Rick Thompson, opened the event sharing the reasons we should all care about rare. He highlighted the experiences shared by rare disease patients regardless of the symptoms of their condition: multiple misdiagnoses, isolation, difficulty maintaining employment, and little hope of treatment. After introducing our patient empowerment programmes to the Newcastle audience, and touching on our social impact bond project, Prof. Mike Briggs took the stage.