Rare Disease Day is hugely important to the rare disease community. It gives us a chance to unite and speak with a single clear voice, highlighting the problem of rare conditions to the world. One way that Findacure hopes to contribute to this global conversation is with the publication of the winners of our Student Voice essay competition. We announced our winners in our blog in January, and on the 27th of February all three attended our annual conference to learn more about rare diseases, and to receive their certificates. Now, thanks to our partners at BioMed Central and Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, you have the chance to read them in full.

Over the last week they have been releasing the essays of our two runners up and one additional entrant as articles on their On Medicine blog. Our overall winning article was also published as an open access article in Orphanet Journal of Rare diseases. You can check out all the pieces using the links below – please feel free to share these essays as widely as you can. Every read will help to raise awareness for rare diseases, and increase student engagement in rare disease treatment and research.

Our overall winner Mariam Al-Attar receiving her certificate from a representative of our headline sponsor, Costello Medical Consulting. Mariam’s excellent essay “TRAPPED – an insight into two sister’ struggle to access treatment for a rare genetic disease” can be downloaded now from Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases.

Runner-up Rupa Kumar, receiving her certificate from Medics 4 Rare Diseases’ Lucy Mckay. Rupa’s essay “Raising the flag for orphan diseases – opportunities and challenges for medical students and researchers” can be read here, on the On Medicine blog.

Runner-up Simon Westby receiving his certificate from Findacure’s CEO Rick Thompson. Simon’s essay “An odyssey not alone” will be available soon on the On Medicine blog.

Finally, another of our entrants’ essays was selected for publication as a blog by our competition judges. George Wood’s essay, entitled “Collaboration is helping medical professionals and patients with rare diseases to face their challenges”, was highly rated by our team, and while he was not selected as a winner, we are very pleased that you can read his piece now on the On Medicine blog.

We’re very proud of our essay competition winners. Both their interest and insight into rare diseases give us huge amounts of  hope that there will be an ever increasing number of clinicians and and researchers with an understanding of the unique challeneges rare disease patients face each day. In the meantime we plan to continue to raise awareness about rare conditions wherever we can, and tell the world why Rare Disease Day matters to us.

Findacure would like to thank our essay competition sponsors, Costello Medical Consulting LtdLinguamatics, and TranScrip Partners, for their financial support.