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Geena RussoThe ACE Agency

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ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — November 15, 2018 — Global Genes®, a leading rare disease patient advocacy organization, is proud to announce the 2018 David R. Cox Scholarship recipient, medical student, Kristin Hunt. Launched in 2015,  the David R. Cox Scholarship for Rare Compassion directs financial support to emerging medical students who connect to the rare disease community with the goal of developing compassion and understanding for the unique, daily challenges of rare disease patients and families.

Now in its third year, the 2018 Cox Scholarship applicants were matched with rare disease patients or families to offer a glimpse into their lives and lack of understanding often received from the medical community.  First place recipient of the award is a rare patient herself from McGill University. Diagnosed with Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP) at 12 years old, Kristin Hunt was inspired by her disease to pursue a medical career.

Collectively, rare disease affects 30 million Americans and 350 million people worldwide. That’s 1 out of 10 people affected by rare disease, yet, medical professionals often do not recognize or encounter one of the 7,000 that exist today. Hunt confirmed that as a medical student they are not familiarized with the majority of rare diseases. As a patient, Hunt would like to see rare disease taught more thoroughly to future doctors.

“I am humbled and grateful to Elizabeth for letting me into her world and opening my eyes to aspects of rare disease, that even as a rare patient, I never truly appreciated before,” Kristin Hunt wrote on her time spent with her patient match.

Motivated medical students started the David R. Cox Scholarship for Rare Compassion and named it after an extraordinary physician who accelerated the search for a treatment to a rare and debilitating genetic disorder, ataxia telangiectasia (A-T). Global Genes is committed to growing this necessary program each year, engaging universities and encouraging increased medical student involvement.

“The Cox Scholarship, created by a group of students including Colton Margus, whose two brothers have a rare neurodegenerative disease, is making critical connections between future clinicians and rare disease patients often neglected by the healthcare system,” said Tiffany Leite, Chief Operating Officer of Global Genes. “Global Genes is focused on easing the rare disease burden for patients and families. The Cox Scholarship program is vital to increasing rare disease understanding in the medical community, diagnosing patients more quickly, accelerating research and potential cures.”

Global Genes would like to congratulate the three rare compassion recipients:

1st Place: Kristin Hunt, McGill University

o   “The Long Road to Diagnosis: A Journey to Resilience”

2nd Place:Michael Sikorski, University of Maryland School of Medicine

o   “Team White”

3rd Place: Adam Neufeld, University of Saskatchewan

o   “The Unsung Heroes: Parents of Children with a Rare Disease”

Global Genes will accept David R. Cox Scholarship for Rare Compassion program requests for 2019 between January 2, 2019, and February 15, 2019. To get involved in a local event, to donate, or to learn more please visit  https://globalgenes.org.

About Global Genes®
Global Genes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization on a mission to connect, empower and inspire the rare disease community. We provide hope for more than 350 million people affected by rare disease around the globe. To date, we’ve educated 6 million people in 100 countries about rare disease, equipped 30,000 patients and advocates with tools and resources, and provided $400,000 in support for innovative patient impact programs. This is just the beginning of what we can achieve together. Visit globalgenes.org to get involved today.