Tag Archives: Success

Matt Eagles – The man who doesn’t let Parkinson’s stop him. Ever.

Living with Parkinson’s disease from the age of eight certainly hasn’t stopped Matt living life to the full. Over the years he’s jumped out of planes, abseiled town halls, photographed Team GB at the 2012 Olympics for ESPNSoccernet and is now working as a patient engagement lead to pass on his experiences of living with Parkinson’s.

We meet Matt at his home, he sits opposite us talking about his school days. “The head teacher of my first school, Headley Cleaver, first noticed me falling backwards in assembly,” he said. At the same time he recalls having trouble at swimming lessons where his legs would just start to sink. Matt was referred to his GP Dr Fox who got the ball rolling and sent him to the Booth Hall Children’s Hospital. However it was a chance encounter at the local infirmary where the breakthrough was made. It was there that Dr Liversedge suggested to Matt’s parents that he try Sinemet, a drug for Parkinson’s disease. The tablets seemed to work, and more importantly from Matt’s perspective he was given 50p by the doctor for taking this bold step to try them out, unfortunately it didn’t stop Matt having some tough times at school.

“One of my teachers called me ‘sparrow legs’ another teacher called me ‘dead legs’. In my first year of senior school, I was dragged into a class by fellow pupils and the teacher forced me to lie on the floor under the black board for the whole lesson to, in her eyes, recover. I couldn’t get up.” One way Matt got around some of the torment was to get involved in everything he possibly could and because his legs were weak, his upper body got really strong. He said, “I used to arm wrestle the strongest lads in the year. There was only one of the rugby lads who ever beat me and he went on to become a professional rugby player, so that used to get me a bit of street cred.”

Over the years Matt has tried lots of drugs to control his Parkinson’s. He used to have to inject himself each day inserting a canula into his stomach and then attach a syringe driver which administered the toxic drug intravenously. The needle remained in place all day until he went to bed. “One of the drugs would work like Viagra,” he said, and would cause extreme startle, making him jump out of his skin when the phone rang, which was very awkward in the telesales arena where he worked. Another one of the drugs caused a potentially catastrophic Impulse Control Disorder to appear. “All of a sudden I started to gamble heavily and lost thousands of pounds. I realised something was seriously wrong and spoke to my consultant who took me off the treatment immediately. Pretty much over night the gambling subsided and the risk taking behaviour disappeared.” Just over ten years ago Matt had deep brain stimulation. He now has two electrodes that go into his brain and are powered by a battery in his chest. The implants control his stiffness and rigidity and can be remotely adjusted depending on the severity of the symptoms.

The symptoms are still there though and can become more exaggerated with emotions or mistiming drugs, but they are a lot more manageable than they used to be. He was in hospital for nearly three weeks and it changed his life. “Simple things,” he says, “like before the treatment, at night I used to roll out of bed and pee into a bottle on the floor because I couldn’t make it to the bathroom. Now I can stand up and walk to the toilet.” Matt worked in publishing for over 20 years and during that time he started writing football match reports for the local paper. “It combined two of my loves… writing and photography.” Photography certainly isn’t the first pastime you would think of for someone with Parkinson’s but this hasn’t stopped Matt. Back in 2012 he got an amazing opportunity through ESPNSoccernet to photograph the football at the 2012 Olympics. He said, “I’ve never at any point thought I’ve got Parkinson’s so I can’t do this. I just worked out exactly how I could capture what I’d need. So I got my press pass and followed Team GB around, photographing both men’s and women’s games at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium. It was amazing.”

Unfortunately he was made redundant recently and found it incredibly difficult, despite his experience, to find a job. “I didn’t want to think it, but the fact that I talked a lot about my Parkinson’s and the work I’d done around it on my CV didn’t help me at all.” He continued to do what he enjoyed, writing and photography, but as well as match reports he started to write about his experiences with Parkinson’s. He was sharing his experiences through Parkinson’s UK and on social media and it wasn’t long before he’d written more and more articles and was being interviewed a lot. He said, “I’ve appeared on Sky News, Sky Radio, daytime TV, Five Live, Radio Wales, World Service and I was featured in the Independent, Mirror, Sun, Express.” He is now working as a ‘patient engagement lead’, and an ambassador for Medtronic who manufacturer what Matt calls, ‘My brain pacemaker’.

We talked some more about social media and the ability to talk to people and share experiences. He said, “Once, I was making a sandwich, I’d managed to spread the butter without wrecking the bread, I’d managed to cut the cheese without chopping my fingers off, I put the bread on top and then had a twitch and knocked the sandwich straight into the dog’s water bowl. I was gutted.” He dealt with it by sharing the moment on social media and it instantly started a conversation with people who had similar instances. “Sharing a frustrating moment allows me to laugh at it rather than get annoyed. I enjoy sharing my experiences, ultimately it helps me cope. I hope it helps others too.”

Because Matt has had Parkinson’s from an early age, he’s had no choice but to live with it. He said, “I’ve not really known anything different.” Living with Parkinson’s every day is different; some days can be great and others can be really dark and it’s this breadth of experience that he can share with others, people who are new to the condition who are trying to find ways of dealing with it. “It’s lovely to get feedback from people saying they’ve heard me on the radio or TV and they’ve felt less alone. I’m not afraid to tell the world I’ve got Parkinson’s. I can’t change what’s happened to me, but I can embrace it and live the best possible life I can.” He also spoke fondly of his wife Viv who he married back in 2014 saying, “She is my rock and keeps me on the straight and narrow but encourages me to do everything I possibly can. We make a great team.”

Matt’s attitude to life is astonishing. He talks about jumping out of a plane, abseiling from the top of town halls, photographing at the Olympics and at a Kaiser Chiefs’ gig and laughs off the idea of being an inspiration to others saying, “I don’t do things to inspire people, I do things because I want to. I set myself goals and work out ways to do them.” By speaking out, Matt is letting people know that having Parkinson’s can be normal and that they don’t have to stop enjoying life. He said, “I feel pain every day and at some point every day my legs don’t work so there will be stuff I can’t do, but I never forget I’m blessed and I try to live life as fully as I can.”

www.instagram.com/matteaglesphotography

Learn more about the #HealthcareHeroes at: www.healthcare-heroes.com

Havas Lynx comes out on top with 5 golds at the prestigious PM Society Awards

Leading healthcare communications agency, Havas Lynx, has celebrated an unprecedented number of big wins at the prestigious Pharmaceutical Marketing Awards  (PM Society Awards).  The Manchester based agency collected a total of five golds, four of which were won for its innovative “Change the face of HIV” campaign for Viiv healthcare.  This year’s awards sweep of gold, silver and bronze takes the agencies total to an incredible 36 PM Society wins in the past six years.

Competition this year was tougher than ever, with entries from a total of 51 agencies and 83 in-house creative teams.  Havas Lynx’s record-breaking ten accolades were achieved in recognition of its innovative work across a variety of therapy areas and categories.

The PM Society Awards are widely regarded amongst the most esteemed in the pharmaceutical healthcare sector, and is the biggest annual gathering in the industry. They are unique among healthcare creative awards in that they include categories judged by healthcare professionals – the targets of the work (TARGET) – as well as a creative panel from the industry (CRAFT).

Havas Lynx’s gold awards comprised of:

Best primary care advertisement – Change the face of HIV for Viiv healthcare (TARGET)

Best advertisement campaign – Change the face of HIV for Viiv healthcare (CRAFT)

Disease awareness – Sun safety on site for HSS Hire supported by Cancer Research UK (CRAFT)

Best Primary Care Campaign – Change the face of HIV for Viiv healthcare (CRAFT)

Best Film – Change the face of HIV for Viiv healthcare (CRAFT)

Dave Hunt, Havas Lynx CEO, said:

“We’re incredibly proud to have smashed our own awards record and been recognised at the PM Society Awards, despite incredibly tough competition.  

“Our strategy to invest heavily in our creative capabilities over the past few years has really paid dividends and we now have a studio team of over 75, and a total of eight hugely talented Creative Directors.  This month we’re delighted to be welcoming Tim Jones to the team, a truly stand-out, multi-award winning Creative Director, who brings with him a wealth of experience in consumer and HCP campaigns.

“As an agency we are constantly evolving, and we are dedicated to creating profound work that has real impact. These awards are recognition of that and testament to our hard work.  It’s real a privilege to work closely with our clients, whose ground-breaking work inspires us on a daily basis.”   

About HAVAS LYNX

Informed by experience and driven by innovation, the people of Havas Lynx are agents of the next era in health.

Dedicated to helping clients connect consumers, professionals and brands with information, services, and influences to drive new relationships and better outcomes. Comprised of what was formerly known as Euro RSCG Life 4D and Creative Lynx, Havas Lynx has offices in New York, Manchester and London. A member of the Havas Health global network.

Website: www.havaslynx.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/HavasLynx

Twitter: @HavasLynxEU

Instagram: www.instagram.com/havaslynxeu/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HAVASLYNXEurope

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The story of Havas Lynx

30TH Birthday

This week officially marks the 30th year for Havas Lynx, so in the spirit of all things Lynx, we’re taking this opportunity to revisit the archives to see how we’ve gone from a team of two to become a powerful global healthcare communications agency with offices in Manchester, London and New York.

1986 – 1999

When we opened our doors as Creative Link, our aim was to work with clients who could bring about ‘positive social change’. Before three years were up, we’d won our first Pharmaceutical Marketing Award for our work with Rheumox, marking the beginning of our successful path in pharmaceuticals. The win was followed by a challenging pitch for Aricept, the first Alzheimer’s disease treatment. For patients and carers, this was the first glimpse of hope and the potential of a better outcome. Winning the pitch, we launched what became the world’s gold-standard treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

During the ‘90s, we also worked for our home city, branding and launching Manchester Arena; acting as sole creative agency for Manchester’s 2002 Commonwealth Games bid and designing the book: ‘Manchester – A Celebration’, part of the 1996 Olympic bid.

Remaining committed to our city, when the IRA bomb struck in 1996; the British Government and Manchester City Council enlisted us (now named Creative Lynx) to create the briefing package for the rebuilding and re-planning of Manchester city centre. We launched the package worldwide and Manchester came back, alive and kicking.

2000 – 2008

Whilst the ‘80s and ‘90s were time to build our business and reputation, the ‘00s were definitely time to build the team. We recruited four future directors and gained one of our biggest and longest-term clients who would contribute to the new shape of the agency; at the forefront of pharma.

In 2008, we found our new home in Princess Street; our founder, Stuart Wilson, stood down after 22 years at the helm, and the Senior Leadership Team as you know it today, stepped up. The year after, we were appointed to the London 2012 Olympic design and artwork rosters, the only Northwest agency from 13,000 others.

2009 – 2016

The last seven years have been some of the most instrumental in Lynx’s development and in 2012, we merged with Havas Worldwide and opened up our first offices in New York and London; our new name, Havas Lynx.

Externally, our work has had a profound impact on patients, healthcare professionals and the wider industry. Highlights include, our award winning work for JHI which has been clinically proven to reduce hospital referral by 58%. Our EGFR disease awareness campaign, which shaped national guidelines, and ensured patients received the correct medication at the correct time. And a series of industry firsts, from our pioneering CLM iPad eDetail Aid in China, to our breakthrough work in social media, and our globally recognised smart phone apps.

Internally, our focus has remained on building and retaining our culture #LYNXLife. As we continue to grow, it is our people that are key to our success. We significantly invest in our team to ensure they are equipped with all the tools they need to deliver exceptional scientific, strategic, creative, and innovative campaigns that truly make a difference. In 2014, we launched the unparalleled #LXAcademy, an internal training programme, to share knowledge, provide inspiration and develop our next generation of talented leaders. We also transferred our motto of #helpfulchange outside of healthcare by supporting the charity Born To Thrive. Rising over £30,000 for the charity and helping to send 43 children to school, and build three new classrooms to enable the children to finish their primary education.

All of this activity has seen us win many awards (totalling 72 so far) including one of our greatest accolades yet, Havas Agency of the Year and most recently PMGroup Communiqué Communications Consultancy of the Year.

 

Independent Client Relationship Audit

Client relations, by David Hunt

I am terrible at receiving critical feedback, even when I’m sure it is intended to be constructive. In my defence I witness the passion, commitment & expertise of our teams, and take responsibility for their endeavours. Regardless, I know there is always room for improvement and as such Havas Lynx recently commissioned an independent study into our client partnerships, weaknesses and strengths.

Overall, the results were very positive, with all participants having both a high opinion of us, and a high intention to continue to partner with us.

Client Survey cropped

The top-line results included:

  • 100% think that Havas Lynx are pretty or very responsive
  • 100% would recommend Havas Lynx
  • 100% would envisage working together over the next twelve months

An executive summary by the auditors can be reviewed here.

More importantly, where can we improve:

  • As expected, given the fiscal pressure across the industry, we need to improve our financial rigour. Not necessarily reduce costs, but better explain them at the outset, provide financial commentary throughout and overall increase simplicity & transparency.
  • We need to get better at saying, “No”. The industry is increasingly complex, and I’m determined we become the communications agency that the specialists want to work with, by recognising our limitations and acknowledging their expertise.
  • We need to improve our creative product, which I entirely agree with. We’ve already appointed Tom Richards as Chief Creative Officer, with further investment to follow. As always, our goal is to be the best and we will get there sooner than expected.

Finally, I’m very grateful for the time and insight, from the participants. We exist in a busy world, so it is good to know our partners are also committed to our programme of continual improvement.

Tip Jar

PMGroup Communiqué Communications Consultancy of the Year

Agency of the Year, by David Hunt

The judges said, “Havas Lynx are not just preparing for the future, they are creating it.”

I agree, but not in isolation. Alongside our team, it takes great clients too. We’re incredibly blessed to work alongside some brilliant industry leaders, from all across the globe. Some have been with us since the beginning and the advent of the tablet-pc & closed-loop marketing. Others are new to the industry, but they share our vision & passion for pharma to make a meaningful & sustained impact on society. New, old, familiar, returning, former; we’re grateful to all of our clients and the role they’ve played in making us great.

We’re also very grateful to Havas Health and in particular Donna Murphy & Ed Stapor. A Global CMO of Top 10 Fortune 500 Company commented, “Your industry spends a fortune buying big digital companies, makes them worse, loses the talent, leaves them in a silo and fails to integrate them and deliver their expertise to us.” This could not be further from the reality of our transition from Creative Lynx to Havas Lynx. We’re faster, stronger, better, and significantly so. We’ve matured from a local digital shop to a global communications agency. Havas have been a catalyst for our development, ensuring that we can now boast scientific, strategic and creative excellence, alongside our unparalleled digital expertise.

From a young age, I came to understand the importance of a great team. Expertise, passion, diversity and a collective commitment are the cornerstones of our success. We mix recognised industry leaders with remarkable graduates, decorated creatives with proven engineers, and scientists with strategists. 95% of our staff are proud or very proud of the work they produce, and I am equally proud of them.

The final ingredient is the Havas Lynx Senior Team; myself, Neil Martin, Steve Nicholas, David Whittingham, and Tom Richards. With the exception of Tom, who is a recent addition, we have been together for a decade, enjoying almost all of it. It’s a great team, and one that I’m incredibly honoured to be part of. It’s reassuring to know that when times are hard, you are surrounded by experts & leaders that stand shoulder-to-shoulder. And equally, when times are good that you can celebrate with friends.Communique

Why I don’t care what’s next

Innovation, by David Hunt

Firstly, I do care, and perhaps should be less flippant. However, commentating on the next pioneering technology is a really good excuse to ignore our deficiencies with the current tools at our disposal. I’d argue that we already have the technology necessary to build meaningful relationships, and our focus should be on maximising these.

Fully leveraging new technology during its infancy is unlikely. In the gaming world, it typically takes 12-18 months for engineers to fully utilise the power of the hardware offered by the latest generation of console. It’s okay for us to take our time, assuming we are making progress, building expertise and confidence. If we are getting closer to adopting the technology and enhancing the breadth of our communication platform – that’s okay. Progress doesn’t always have to be quick, but it should still be progress. Ask Yahoo, MySpace and Blackberry if they’d have sacrificed being first to be the best.

And, while we’re exploring what we already have, let’s play with what the future holds. I’ve always considered myself to be curious, and therefore quick to try the latest technology. Today, at Havas Lynx, I’m surrounded by millennials. To my astonishment, they are more demanding than me and more impatient than me – no mean feat. They are also much more agile in their take-up of technology. Aligned with experience, it is meaningful innovation beset on making a difference.

Do we need more technology? Or do we need to be better at using it? I’d argue that, if we ensure the latter, the former will bring more value.

Orchestrator

What makes Havas Lynx special?

The #LXAcademy, by David Hunt

“What is your point of difference?”, “Why should I work with you?”, or my personal favourite, “What makes Havas Lynx so special?” The answer is always the same – the people. But “people” does not just happen by chance. It takes investment, it takes values & it takes culture.

On the 30th of April we launched #LXAcademy 2015 at Manchester Town Hall. It was an awesome event, which reflected our commitment to, and investment in, skills development. Lucy May was inspiring as she discussed the opportunities for progressive change in healthcare with a commitment to a more holistic patient journey, fuelled by creativity. Dave Birss then followed with some phenomenal case studies that were deconstructed to their core, as we explored the discipline behind creativity. Dave beautifully illustrated the power of ideas to drive change across society. However, the greatest point of inspiration was the collective passion & expertise of the Havas Lynx community, with over two-hundred experts committed to Helpful Change in healthcare.

Over the next six months there will be over one-hundred sessions, covering Agency Fundamentals, through to Core Expertise and Thought Leadership. Not everyone in an agency has an eye for design, not everyone can use PowerPoint, and not everyone has a quality first approach – they should. The curriculum for Agency Fundamentals seeks to change this. Numerous articles and research papers discuss the most likely reason an agency would be sacked, and it’s almost always a lack of quality, attention to detail, or put another way – the fundamentals. The details count, and they are a priority for Havas Lynx.

I’d like to be a better CEO, and I’m sure that I am not alone in wanting to be better at the day job. We’ll be tackling payors and market access, content designed for a more social world, and the account teams will spend time with a restaurant manager to discuss silver service. It’s amazing the amount agencies spend on recruitment and salaries, and then neglect training and development.

The Thought Leadership programme will include discussing teamwork and marginal gains in a Formula One pit-lane, how an NHS Trust uses twitter to manage patient well-being and how the police negotiate with terrorists. All of the sessions are made available on YouTube, with last year’s #LXAcademy attracting 100,000 views, to further validate the quality.

Like all things the success of the #LXAcademy 2015 will be based on the people, the more they put in the more they will get out. As always, I’m happy backing the Havas Lynx community.