Last week, Frannie Marmorstein and I were thrilled to head up to New York City to attend the PR News Platinum Awards Luncheon. We attended on behalf of Spectrum and GLOBALHealthPR, our partnership of international health care communications specialists, as a finalist in the “Pro Bono” category for our work on The Progeria Research Foundation’s (PRF) “Find the Other 150 Campaign”. And we won! This recognition, among the best of the best in the industry, was an honor for everyone involved in the campaign, and hopefully it will inspire others in the industry to leverage global collaboration for a cause they are passionate about.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Progeria, it is an extremely rare, rapid aging disease that causes children to age prematurely. Children with Progeria die of heart attacks or strokes at an average age of 13 years, so time is not on our side as we work to identify children around the world.
But this award isn’t the first time an important win has come out of this campaign. Every time a child is identified as a result of the campaign, it’s a win: a win for the child, because he or she will get the unique medical care he or she needs, a win for the child’s family, and a win for PRF, because these children help to advance research toward treatments and the cure for Progeria. We’ve identified 26 to date, a 48% increase in just two years (and 2 more since we submitted our entry for the award)!
We’ve blogged about the “Find the Other 150” campaign before. But the results keep getting better and better. In October 2009, only 54 children living with Progeria had been identified around the world. But experts believed that another 150 children around the world had not yet been identified or diagnosed. GLOBALHealthPR approachedPRFabout launching a global awareness campaign to search for unidentified children with Progeria. When the campaign began, PRF’s medical director said that if even ONE child was identified, the campaign would be a success. No one expected that we would be so successful so quickly.
So here we are two years and 26 children later (now totaling 80 children around the world with Progeria), and our campaign is going strong. Receiving the PR News Platinum Award at last week’s luncheon was a wonderful reward for our great work. But this campaign is nowhere close to finished. We will continue to work with our GLOBALHealthPR partners until we accomplish what we set out to do – Find the Other 150. And every time a new child is found and gets the support they need, that’s a win for us.