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Comfortable In Our Own Skin

26th November 2019

Three cheers for the Life Sciences leaders who aren't just treating ailments; they're also working hard to destigmatize them.

Navigating childhood and young adulthood is challenging enough without added complications.

Issues with personal appearance can blight young lives, and cruel name-calling can leave emotional scars to match physical ones.

Thanks to an admirable initiative by Sanofi and Regeneron, there are plans to change the narrative for many young people with skin conditions that affect their day to day lives.

The two companies have joined forces to put a stop to the bullying of people with atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis makes the skin red and itchy. It’s a long-lasting condition that can flare up unexpectedly, and it’s never good news when it does. In a survey, two out of five adolescents with the condition admitted to being bullied because of it.

The response from Sanofi and Regeneron was the launch of their “Agents of Change” campaign, inviting people whose lives are affected by atopic dermatitis to submit creative ideas to destigmatize and manage the condition. Ideas came from around the world, including art and literary contests, storytelling projects and self-confidence workshops. The most promising fifteen ideas have now been shortlisted, and the merits of each proposal will be reviewed over the coming months. In April 2020 a final list of up to five grant winners will be announced; they will receive not only funding but also the opportunity to work with healthcare innovation experts who will help them bring their ideas to life.

While this is a competition and it will produce a list of winners, it’s fair to say that everyone who’s taken part has accomplished something. Sanofi and Regeneron shone a light on the importance of the project by making a short film about Malena, a fourteen year old Argentinian who has suffered with severe atopic dermatitis from birth. Along with her mother, Malena spoke with dignity and fortitude of a condition that leaves her not only socially isolated but also frequently in pain.

We applaud the innovators who are working to treat this cruel condition, and we applaud the change-makers who are fighting to take the cruelty out of the response to it. There are things every child deserves as part of a decent start in life. One of them, surely, is the right to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Thank you Sanofi.

Thank you Regeneron.

 

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