Remember when you were a kid, and your summer days were filled with playing, climbing the jungle gym at the park, and running until your lungs burned to avoid being “It” in tag? What if you couldn’t do this? What if you had to avoid all of these activities because they put you at risk? I couldn’t imagine my childhood without these things, but for kids with hemophilia, it’s sometimes their reality.
I work for a boutique marketing agency that specializes in pharmaceuticals. We work directly with the pharmaceutical companies to develop patient programs and materials for a variety of different illnesses and conditions. While we are working for the pharmaceutical companies, it is ultimately the patients who are our customers.
My favorite customer story involved a children’s program we developed for kids with hemophilia. The purpose of the program is to provide them with fun learning activities, healthy lifestyle tips and an environment where they could see that they’re not alone in their struggle.
We get letters from the kids involved in the program asking questions, or giving suggestions for issues they would like to see addressed in the newsletter we send out a couple of times a year. And sometimes it’s just to thank us. I received a letter from a 7 year old boy who was suffering from hemophilia, and as a result, was feeling isolated from his friends because he couldn’t participate in all the activity and rough housing that 7 year-old boys are inclined to engage in. He felt he was always watching from the sidelines, and was tired of telling people he couldn’t participate. We published a piece on how to talk to your friends about your illness, and gave tips on trying to engage them in activities that everyone could participate in. Apparently, for this boy, the advice worked. He said that he had explained things to his friends a little more clearly, and that they now understood where he was coming from, and why he couldn’t run around and roughhouse. And they were now making a concerted effort to plan activities that he could be included in. He was much happier, and had a brighter outlook on life. And this is why I like what I do.