Last week we welcomed Reece to the AKU Society’s team in Cambridge. As Admin and Communications Officer, he will be responsible for the team’s social media output, as well as a lot of our online and print advertising. His job also involves administering our patient communities, reporting to our trustees and to the Big Lottery Fund, organising patient workshops and supporting community fundraising.
What were you doing before you joined the AKU Society?
I was living in Warsaw, Poland! The European Parliament had been good enough to give me a scholarship to study at the College of Europe – a very small postgraduate university, loosely connected with the European Union, run out of Bruges and Warsaw. We were all kept very busy studying the laws and institutions of the EU. I loved politics, and indeed still do. But I decided that I wasn’t cut out to be a civil servant in embryo. I’d studied in Cambridge as an undergraduate, and was pretty keen to come back.
What attracted you to the role?
I liked the idea of working for a small charity, where I’d be given lots of autonomy and responsibility. I’ve been in politics now for a few years because I’ve wanted to effect social change, but it can be rather frustrating to be out of power, and to put huge amounts of work into lost election campaigns which come to nothing. Here, at least, I know that I’m making a tangible difference from the word go. We’re already making the lives of AKU patients more tolerable at the NAC in Liverpool. And the work being done by DevelopAKUre is bringing us so close to a treatment.
What do you hope to achieve in the role?
It’s very important to raise awareness of AKU, and of what brilliant doctors and scientists are doing to fight it. Not only do we obviously want the world at large to know what we’re doing, but it’s our mission to identify AKU patients not yet diagnosed – to let them, and their GPs, know that what they are suffering from is AKU and that we are here to help them. Plus, I want to help the administration run more smoothly, and to keep the money flowing in. That means, too, that everyone else does their job better.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I don’t know how possible it will be, but I would actually like to keep up my academic interests despite leaving education. My undergraduate specialism was Roman history, and I would like to establish myself in the field of Roman, and neo-Roman, political practice and thought. Just the other day I sent off an article about the French philosopher Montesquieu and his writings on the Roman Empire. I do hope it wasn’t immediately thrown in the bin – my fingers are crossed. I also don’t rule out throwing myself into a political campaign or two, potentially.