We’re so excited to introduce our new Marketing and Engagement Manager, Blayne Baker, who joined the Findacure team this week! Find out more about Blayne below:
What were you doing before you joined Findacure?
Before I joined Findacure, I was working as an SEO Content Writer for an award-winning digital marketing and web design agency that worked with local, national and international small-to-medium sized enterprises, e-commerce businesses and manufacturers. I researched, wrote and optimised content for my clients, and handled the company’s portfolio of social media clients.
What you may not realise is that I’m actually not from the UK. I relocated to England just last year from Boston, Massachusetts, and was originally working as a Digital Content Editor for another award-winning digital marketing company which specialised in the automotive industry. I know more about engines, transmissions and car problems than I care to admit!
Why did you choose to join the Findacure team?
I chose to join the Findacure team for a variety of personal and professional reasons. From a career standpoint, this role gave me every opportunity to play to my strengths while growing and developing my skillset in new areas. I have a true love for the written word and jumped at the chance to continue that passion alongside other areas of interest, such as marketing, media relations and strategic communications.
In terms of personal reasons, it’s been my dream to work for a charity ever since I began my career. Findacure’s mission spoke to me because my UK family recently joined the rare disease community. I witnessed first-hand the fear, isolation and confusion that my family felt when the diagnosis was handed down, and it wasn’t until we found and joined a rare disease patient group that support and understanding were given. Knowing that people are fighting for you behind the scenes means the world to patients and I just had to be a part of empowering them to accelerate change in rare disease policy, research and care with Findacure.
What do you want to achieve most at Findacure?
I want the rare disease community’s voice to be heard just like the food allergy community’s voice was heard back in 1990s America. I was born with severe, life-threatening food allergies at a time when food allergies were unknown, misunderstood and not respected in the scientific community. My parents and I joined every patient support group there was to learn about my condition, and we were forced to advocate for my rights at every turn just so I could have a “normal” life.
Fast forward to 2020 and the food allergy community is respected, heard and understood at the scientific and personal level. I walked that journey from isolation and confusion to understanding and knowledge with this community, and I’m proud to say that real change can happen when you advocate and push for advancements in policy, research and care. The food allergy community is full of medical advocates who are dedicated to identifying long-term treatments, so I feel very confident that we’re closing in on a cure.
My hope is that the work I do at Findacure will help the rare disease community progress to the same level of recognition, care and research that is enjoyed by the food allergy community today. There are still 7,000 rare diseases that need treatment, awareness and support, so I can’t wait to start championing this community like I’ve done my own.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Once I moved to England, I found that I had an undiscovered passion for gardening. I’m currently growing cherry tomatoes and Chile peppers on my little balcony garden, and I’m always adding to my collection of hydrangeas (my favourite flower!), petunias, dahlias and Easter bonnets.
Another hobby of mine is searching the web for exciting, new recipes to try at home. I love playing with different ingredients and truly feel like a mad scientist when attempting to create new dinners. I’m happy to say that I’ve had more victories than failures, so I’m basically on my way to publishing a cookbook, right?
What’s your favourite book/film/TV show and why?
I feel like I’m obliged to tell you my favourite book seeing as I’m a writer! My favourite author is without a doubt Gillian Flynn. If the name sounds familiar, she was the author of the New York Times Best-Seller, Gone Girl.
Gone Girl was the first book I read from her and I was hooked within seconds. I wanted more from this author the moment I closed the book, so I proceeded to read her two other novels, Dark Places and Sharp Objects; both of which only solidified my love for her writing style and devious mind.
As an author, Gillian Flynn will have you believing one thing from the start of the book up until the last few final pages where she abruptly turns the story on its head and leaves you reeling. All three stories have stayed with me long after I’ve turned the last page, so if you’re looking for something sharp, cunning and poignant, she is the author for you!