All of us – patients, survivors and loved ones – face challenges from the moment of a disease diagnosis through treatment. And those challenges are personal.
Ten years ago, there was no such thing as a gluten-free aisle at the grocery store. Most people had never even heard of gluten. I hadn’t either; until I found out my body was rejecting it. It’s called celiac disease, and I had it. For me, gluten is not an allergy or a dietary fad. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder meaning if I eat gluten, my immune system thinks it’s under attack and nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into my body.
The other challenge with autoimmune disorders is that people who have one tend to have others. So a few years after learning I had celiac, my doctors informed me I also had Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Now my immune system was also attacking my thyroid.
Fortunately, both Hashimoto’s and celiac can be managed with innovative medicines and diet.
I am thankful that everything that we do in the biopharmaceutical industry – from research and development to clinical trials and the release of new medicines – comes down to one thing: patients.
As part of PhRMA’s “I’m Not Average” campaign, we’ve been collecting and sharing stories from patients, caregivers and supporters whose lives have been impacted by disease, and who have hope for the future thanks to innovative treatments.
One of those stories embodies the mission of “I’m not Average” – the story of four-and-a-half-year-old Nicholas. When Nicholas was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, his parents knew that tough days were ahead. But they also knew that Nicholas and his family were prepared to be even tougher opponents.
Now in his third and final year of chemotherapy, Nicholas and his modern medical treatment have punished the disease into remission. “Now, he’s out doing what other 4-year-olds do – running around, playing soccer,” says Nicholas’s mother. “The finish line is in sight.”
We are not the only ones with stories. We want to hear your story of hope and how medicines have helped you or someone you love work through a diagnosis.
Submit your personal story here, share the campaign with others and spread the message of hope using #ImNotAverage.
Learn more about “I’m Not Average” at www.fromhopetocures.org/imnotaverage.
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Ieva M. Augstums Ieva (YEH-vuh), Deputy Vice President of Public Affairs, joined PhRMA in 2014 and now oversees all branding and paid advertising, including PhRMA’s national multi-year GOBOLDLY campaign. She reported on the 2008 financial crisis and other financial market news during ten years as a journalist at the Dallas Morning News and the Associated Press, then directed national campaigns at a Washington-based strategic communications and brand consulting firm. A native Nebraskan, Ieva is a proud mother of two, dreams of opening a paperie and never passes up an opportunity to lace up for a rave run.
Topics: I'm Not Average