Patrick the incurable optimist

Patrick the incurable optimist

An inspiring campaign for the Motor Neurone Disease Association has caught our attention.

Two years ago 37-year old Patrick Joyce was diagnosed with MND, an incurable disease which attacks the ability to send signals to and from the brain. Describing himself as an incurable optimist he has set out to paint 100 portraits of other inspirational people.

So far Patrick has painted 12 portraits, but as the disease progresses it will be become increasingly hard for him to continue.

Patrick’s microsite emphasises the personal drive behind his challenge. A Facebook page and Twitter presence allow people to follow his efforts to remain positive despite his worsening condition.

The MND Association has generated media coverage to drive engagement.

On the BBC World Service Patrick said: ‘I started this in the hope that I could show that behind the horrible statistics there are people fighting tooth and claw to stop this disease, people giving up their lives to care for the sufferers and people living with it, with dignity, fortitude and a sense of humour…I simply want to share my incurable optimism.’

The campaign is supported by advertising, with posters across the London underground and national rail network. One shows Patrick in a wheelchair playing with his child and laughing. Another shows him standing up, with his portraits behind him.

Weaved into Patrick’s personal story is a call for increased funds for research and support, with links back to the MND Association website. This is a subtle and personal way of encouraging donations.

The combination of traditional and newer media channels has enabled Patrick’s cause to rapidly reach diverse audiences. It will be interesting to see how the campaign develops as Patrick’s illness progresses, but the use of social media channels will enable it to grow organically, and offers the possibility of continuing the challenge and raising awareness after Patrick’s death.

We love the honesty and conviction behind this compelling and clever campaign and wish Patrick the best of luck in his search for more incurable optimists to paint.

Follow @patrickoptimist on Twitter