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Thursday, May 24, 2012

An award-winning Canadian video shows the potency of patient stories

Zal Press is Executive Director of Patient Commando Productions, an internet initiative dedicated to promoting the patient voice as a guide to practice change. has more than 1400 patient experience stories. Zal has been living with Crohn’s Disease for over 30 years.

In a competition loaded with Hollywood celebrities, heavyweights like the Clintons, web giants Google+, Facebook and others, an unknown Canadian health charity emerged victorious in the annual Webby Awards competition. The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund production “Dear 16 Year Old Me” has set a new standard of storytelling in video by winning 2 Webby Awards, the leading international awards honouring excellence on the Internet.

The video won for Best Online Video - Public Service and Activism, and for Best Copywriting. It has been viewed almost 7 million times, in 150 countries, and in 5 languages. No other Canadian patient story in living memory has come close to this level of global social media impact.
Last October Daniel Stolfi, Canadian Comedy Award winner, delivered a compelling presentation about his cancer experience at the Health Council of Canada’s Patient Engagement Symposium. It was a powerful example of the impact of patient stories.

“Dear 16 Year Old Me” is another Canadian patient story, by melanoma patients who, through reflection, tell their 16 year old self some life lessons that can make an important difference in their lives. It’s a milestone in the history of healthcare when a patient story, told by real patients, outdraws a Hollywood celebrity doctor. It’s a story that can inform practice, change patient behaviour and improve public health.

This film wasn’t supported with a mass media campaign and major sponsors. It won the hearts of millions with an authentic narrative that engages its viewers with its honesty.  It is a textbook example of the potency of patient stories. Canadians have a history of listening to the patient voice. We’ve done it again and again. These voices move us and inspire us to action. Alongside other great Canadian patient models - change makers like Terry Fox and Rick Hansen - you’re going to start seeing the name David Cornfield. David died at 32, a young man with great promise. What he started in life is being fulfilled by his legacy, a film as inspirational and dynamic as he was, with the power to influence the actions of millions of people.

If you haven’t seen this remarkable film, take 5 minutes to see it here now and share it with your friends and family. If you have seen it, then watch it again and know that you are changing the world by sharing it with those who haven’t.

P.S. Patient Commando has a new whitepaper you may be interested in: “On a New Frontier of Patient Engagement; Promoting Collaboration One Story at a Time”.

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