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I Am Number 17 – A Rare Disease Awareness Campaign

by Takeda UK
with support from Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Summary of work

People living with rare diseases are often marginalised, face lengthy waits and multiple visits to doctors simply to receive a diagnosis. While seemingly uncommon in fact, 1 in 17 people in the UK are affected by a rare disease. I am number 17 is a campaign to make their voices heard. We paired 17 people living with a rare disease with 17 artists to represent their experience through art. The resulting work was then launched at an exclusive event in London’s Oxo Gallery, receiving nationwide recognition with 59 pieces of broadcast coverage together reaching 4 million people.

Through creatively bringing to life one statistic, we showed the reality of people’s lives through rich, individual content. Every one of our changemakers was able to tell their story and reach others in their communities. Our work was developed in complete collaboration with changemakers and patient groups. Those involved in the process were given their own platform and became part of a community effort that was not limited to a single rare disease. The campaign is dedicated to effecting real change for those living with rare disease and, far from being a one-off event, will be a long-term movement to support everyone impacted.

Judges' comments

I am Number 17 is a lovely initiative and the website with the stories is great! The execution involved patients throughout and this is reflected in the positive feedback from those involved.


Multiple Sclerosis in the 21st century (MS21) - by Merck
with support from Cello Health Communications

I Am Number 17 – A Rare Disease Awareness Campaign - by Takeda UK
with support from Hill+Knowlton Strategies

PMEA Awards 2020

Key dates

Entry deadline 27 August 2020
Extended entry deadline 3 September 2020*
*additional fee applies
Judging Day 1 October 2020
Company of the Year Interviews 22 October 2020
PMEA Event 25 November 2020