what day is it?

You can head over to the NI Rare Disease Partnership site to get all the facts and figures- why the families, charities and clinicians felt the need to act together. You can read the findings of a report on patient experience of daignosis. You can join the charity.

We’re having the launch event at noon. Politicians meeting patients, hearing something of what it’s like to live with a rare disease, and why the UK government needs to publish a strategy for consultation. The event is about connecting people, and reducing the isolation felt by those living with a condition for which there is little or no support.

Some of us will be there early on, setting up displays, moving chairs, panicking about minor details. (Some of us may also be wondering when to sneak out to draw on a face and put on heels.) Eventually some big wigs will swan in and claim all the credit. That sort of stuff  happens, but it’s not important.

The people we’re trying to represent are important. They will not all be in attendance. We’ve made some films, and I’ll be introducing those.

Pretend you’re there. Gawp at the politicians. Put yourself in their paths- particularly effective if you’re a wheelchair user- and wonder aloud what they’re doing on your behalf. Pep yourself up with some coffee. Let your child get her face painted. Play on the swings. Listen to a glamorous blonde (It’s imaginary; I can be glamorous in your imagination. Work at it until I am.)

It’s important to recognise the people who can’t be with us today.

Some are represented in the films; we’re featuring one of those, discussing the impact of a rare disease on a young woman and her family.

We need to remember that’s just one story. One condition. One set of circumstances. One family.

There are thousands of other families in NI affected by rare disease- in every constituency, in every planning area, in every GP surgery.

Let us, together, speak for

  • The people without appropriate transport
  • The people without respite care
  • The people who are unable to communicate
  • Those without family support systems

Let us speak for

  • The people run ragged attending appointments
  • The people who are too busy dealing with a wide range of caring responsibilities
  • The people who aren’t connected to these support networks yet
  • Those who are symptomatic, but not yet diagnosed

Let us speak for

  • The people currently receiving emergency care in hospitals
  • The people who think it’s not worthwhile coming to these events- sure, they’ll not change anything anyway
  • The people who are too ill to travel, or to be left without a family member
  • Those who don’t want to create a fuss or draw attention to their illness- the disease is not who they are

They can’t all be here, but we need make sure their voices are heard.

That’s what it’s all about.


It’s Rare Disease Day.


9 thoughts on “what day is it?

  1. I wish you great good luck for your day. A Very Important Cause. I hope you get each TV station and all the press to carry the story of the event and its purpose.. And, naturally, to illustrate with an interview and picture of that glamorous blonde!!!

  2. I think this is just amazing! I will be doing some additional reading to try to better understand the focus and hoped-for outcomes from the event. I haven’t heard of any similar movement here in the U.S. but wonder if that may be coming. I’m really quite uninformed, but you are so beautifully changing that! I hope for a wonderful outcome to today’s events! Debra

  3. This is all about giving everyone equity… to see that medical and social needs are met in the best possible way, never mind what the underlying diagnosis is all about. Sadly even those with relatively well known conditions are still not catered for adequately: there’s a lot of work to be done. And in my opinion, most of this is down to adequate education. Good luck!

    (I thought of you today, at work 🙂 – )

  4. An excellent initiative. I hope the new group gets more recognition for all the diseases that don’t get the big headlines. Like my sister Heather’s MND.

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