The city fountains in blood: NO to the waste of life

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Baltic PR Awards 2012 …

Baltic PR Awards 2012
Category: PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Organization: Komunikāciju Aģentūra/ Edelman Affiliate
Client: Association of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Patients
Country: Latvia
Project name: The city fountains in blood: NO to the waste of life

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  • 1. Category: PUBLIC AFFAIRSKomunikāciju Aģentūra/ Edelman Affiliate (Latvia)The city fountains in blood: NO to the waste of lifeAssociation of Leukaemia and Lymphoma PatientsSummaryWhat would you do in a situation where all your familys savings are not enough to save your, or a closerelative’s life?The government budget for the health care support is constantly being reduced and state authorities onlytheoretically understand patients’ problems. Every year the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Patients’ Unionorganises Leukaemia and Lymphoma Day to give very necessary support to the patients to prevent cuts ingovernment funding for the treatment of these rare diseases. The campaign activities were divided intotwo parts: fist to draw public attention; second – to increase government support.The water of two fountains in the city centre was coloured red as a protest of the waste of human livesand a symbol of the blood cancer, which takes over the human body. Also, an exposition of eye-portraitsof real patients with a simple call: “Look into our eyes; this might be the last time!” was prepared.The campaign drew huge attention from the public and media. As a result the government decided notonly NOT TO REDUCE the funding, but also eight more patients received funding for treatment.SituationThe government budget for the health care support is constantly being reduced, and so is governmentfunding for the treatment of rare diseases. State authorities only theoretically understand patients’problems; in reality they turn a blind eye to patients’ pleas for healthcare support.This leads to the loss of lives in a very short time. The average citizen is not able to cover the treatmentexpenses of this disease, as the necessary medicine costs over 1000 LVL a month. Meanwhile, withappropriate treatment, the patient remains a functional member of society.ObjectivesIn 2011 the goals for the event were rather complicated:• to prevent cuts in government funding for the treatment of leukaemia and lymphoma;• to draw public attention to the problem and gain support in the battle for life, for state funded medicine.StrategyThe aim of the campaign was to choose communication activities, which would draw public attention,while not being too threatening. The exaggeration of this matter might lead to an opposite reaction – losssupport from authorities.The campaign activities were divided into two parts: fist, to draw public attention; second – to gaingovernment support.ExecutionOn September 30, 2011 as a protest of the waste of human lives and as a symbol of the blood cancerwhich takes over the human body, the water of two fountains in the city centre near a lively trafficjunction and the Esplanade park was coloured red. This was the also the location of the media event. Baltic PR Awards 2012
  • 2. Category: PUBLIC AFFAIRSOf course it drew attention, but how to gain public support? Near the fountain an exposition of eye-portraits of real patients was set up with a simple call: “Look into our eyes, this might be the last time!”The people passing by could write supporting messages on the portrait cards and address them toauthorities.The exposition was also exhibited for one week at the Central Train Station and photo banners with theeye-portraits were displayed in front of the windows of the Ministry of Health and near the Cabinet ofMinisters.Documented Results• ~ 400 informative cards were passed out to the public; ~ 300 cards sent to the employees of state institutions, addressed individually; the portrait series was seen by ~ 600 spectators and the red fountains were noticed by a great number of people.• The blood-coloured fountains were shown on more than 60 of Latvia’s television programmes and described in all notable press media and internet portals.• Not only the was the previous amount of the government funding kept, but additional funding was given for the treatment of eight more people with the most expensive medicines on the list of reimbursable medications (before the campaign, 54 patients received the medication). Baltic PR Awards 2012