Week in Review: Finding Courage and Inspiration Through Personal Experiences

Week in Review: Finding Courage and Inspiration Through Personal Experiences

05.17.13 | By Kaelan Hollon

Within minutes of Angelina Jolie’s New York Times opinion piece going live on her preventative steps against breast cancer, nearly every major news outlet in the world was covering the highly personal story. Ms. Jolie is a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, which means she has a high chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer (87% and 50% respectively). After careful consideration and consulting her doctors and family, she made the brave decision to have a double mastectomy.

Thousands of women are forced to make similar decisions, and there is an increasing understanding that sharing personal narratives can be a very powerful tool. A 2011 study found that in blood pressure patients, individuals who watched videos of similar patients telling stories about their own experiences had much better results.

At PhRMA, we work every day with this in mind because many of us are patients, have been patients or know we likely will be patients at some point in our lives. We want to share our stories to let people know we understand the obstacles they face and are here to help. Stephanie Fischer from our communications team contributed a post this week about surviving a stroke at age 29 caused by a rare autoimmune disease. Stephanie understands the fear that comes from an unknown illness and used her blog as an opportunity to educate readers about the signs of a stroke and encouraged them to act quickly if one occurs.

Josie Martin, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, also shared her personal experience in a blog post about National Women’s Health Week. As a career woman and a mother, she addressed the struggles of trying to balance work and home life. Emphasizing that many diseases disproportionately affect women, Josie advised working moms to stay healthy and learn about the risks associated with diseases facing women.

As the biopharmaceutical industry continues to bring research, progress and hope to patients, we look forward to continuing to share our stories and encourage our readers to do the same. Check the Catalyst often for more patient stories and leave a comment below to share your experience.  

 

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