Tireless Campaigner Wins Recognition
Awareness advocate Trishna Bharadia takes home the prestigious Patient Advocate Award
Trishna Bharadia has won the esteemed Patient Advocate award at the eyeforpharma Barcelona 2018 event for her ironclad commitment to raising awareness about multiple sclerosis.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis aged 28 in 2008, Bharadia has made it her mission to provide a platform to people with MS and has become a leading voice on living with the chronic condition.
The range of her work is extensive; she speaks at events and in the media, writes, vlogs and blogs, co-develops services/information, advises on health projects/research studies and educates pharmaceutical staff/healthcare professionals about living with MS/chronic illness. In addition to regularly speaking at conferences and workshops on topics ranging from living with chronic illness, improving patient engagement and becoming an expert patient, in 2015, she put MS on the map by taking part in prime-time TV ballroom dancing competition, People’s Strictly for Comic Relief.
Her tireless campaigning is all the more remarkable as she has a full-time job as a translator at a business information company, and her advocacy work is done in her spare time.
Her work has had a profound impact on the world of MS, particularly when it comes to increasing understanding and showing people how living a positive life is possible with chronic illness.
Reflecting on her win, Bharadia said: “It is amazing to have been given a platform. I see the award as a chance to share my work and to further my progress on this journey. It is about making pharma less scared about talking to patients and this creates a space where pharma can talk to patients.”
Her passion for advocacy is personal. "I want to see change happen because I know how hard it is. When you are living with any serious chronic illness, you are having to deal with that on a day to day basis, that should be made as easy as possible. For my own and lots of other people's experiences, that hasn't been the case. Helping to change the status quo is what drives me."
The expert panel of judges, representing companies from across the industry, hailed Bharadia as an “inspirational powerhouse”, describing the result as a “clear win-win for patients, society and pharma".
Multiple sclerosis is a life-long, incurable disease with varying degrees of intensity. Symptoms can range from mild to severely debilitating. MS attacks the central nervous system, disrupting the nerve signals that are sent from the brain to the rest of the body, causing myriad symptoms that affect different parts of the body. In the US, the number of people with MS is estimated to be about 400,000, with approximately 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year. In the UK it is estimated that there are over 100,000 people living with MS, and that each year around 5,000 people are diagnosed.
The other finalists for the Patient Advocate award were:
Dr Emmanuel Fombu fromNovartis designed the first-ever clinical trial in heart failure with reduced ejection using remote-monitoring devices to study endpoints that mattered to patients.
Look For Epilepsy – In a bid to tackle the stigmatisation of epilepsy in Turkey, UCB Turkey launched an advocacy project in partnership with the International League Against Epilepsy and International Bureau for Epilepsy, centered on the ‘icon’ of purple glasses (purple is epilepsy’s global color).
The Novartis Patient Academy – Helma Dollevoet and Patricia van Rossum launched the Novartis Patient Academy, a patient-centric initiative that aims to support and empower patient organizations to help them become knowledgeable and professional partners.
Team Phenomenal Hope Brasil – In 2015,Paula Menezes launched Team Phenomenal Hope Brasil, an innovate advocacy plan using sports to attract media and popular attention and an online petition to pressure the government. She and three other volunteers trained for an ultramarathon (75km) over an 11-month period, touring the country to raise awareness, meet PH leaders and patients, and contact local media.
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