I Am Number 17

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Faced with a lack of public understanding and a competitive healthcare environment, the rare disease community has traditionally struggled to gain a share of awareness from necessary policymakers. Developing innovative treatments for rare diseases is especially challenging and patients face barriers to access even after medicines receive market authorisation.


Takeda wanted to educate vital stakeholders - including the general public, policymakers, and healthcare professionals - so that they understood the issue and were inspired to act. Using one simple insight, H+K brought the experience of living with a rare disease to life: while seemingly uncommon, 1 in 17 people in the UK are affected.


Working with 13 patient organisations, we identified 17 'changemakers' (those having a rare disease themselves or knowing someone who does) with artist to represent their experience.


Through a grassroots effort, our spokespeople represented the spectrum of their community and were empowered to start a movement. Those involved in the process were given their own platform and became part of an effort that was not limited to a single disease. I Am Number 17 is dedicated to affecting real change for those living with rare diseases and, far from being a one-off event, will be a long-term campaign to support everyone impacted.