Hris-Maria Slavova, medical student, 2nd year, Medical University-Plovdiv
1.Hello, you are the big winner of our contest, how did you find out about it and what motivated you to participate?
Hello! As an active member of the Association of Medical Students – Plovdiv since my first year as a student, I have always been interested in the various initiatives of my colleagues. As soon as I found out about the Photo Contest from the then local head of the Public Health Committee (SCOPH) I was highly motivated to sign up and help. In my opinion, these diseases, although rare, should not be ignored and the opportunity to draw attention to them in such an attractive way made me embrace the idea and roll up my sleeves. The photo is a memory of a magical trip to Vienna with my colleagues and I have kept it close to my heart as something sentimental ever since. Subtly, I also invented a poem that would give my work even more meaning and show that people who embark on this adventure – medicine, do not find in it just dry facts and reference values, but immerse themselves in a world in which they can nurture their creative skills alongside developments in science.
2. Are you serious about photography? How did you decide which photo to feature?
I do photography as an amateur. I chose this photo because the butterfly for me symbolizes everything that is best in life. It begins as a pupa and through its own efforts becomes this lovely winged creature that gives us hope. Beauty heals, makes time stand still and gives us the freedom to think that there is always something in life to make you feel better and find meaning. It reminds that everything will be okay in the end.
3. What is the symbolism in your picture?
I am sure that the butterfly in my photo is a symbol of every single change that we undergo over the years and shows that with the accumulation of experience and knowledge our existence becomes more and more beautiful and meaningful. Rare diseases are the nuances in people’s lives that make it colorful and exciting. Therefore, let’s not forget that the butterfly is also a symbol of love that lives in us and accompanies us on our life’s journey, giving meaning to every single thing we do and encounter. Love is the support that the relatives give to these patients, but also the help of the medical specialists, and in this case also the students, who do their best every da
4. What did you learn about rare diseases by participating in the competition?
For a disease to be rare, it needs to occur in less than 1 in 2,000 individuals. In fact, until ten years ago, the situation in Bulgaria was not particularly encouraging for patients with such a diagnosis. With the establishment of the Institute of Rare Diseases and the National Alliance of People with Rare Diseases, as well as many other organizations, there is a positive trend in public awareness of the issue and in the possibilities of treatment and support for the sick. Celebrating Rare Disease Day is a wonderful initiative that is gradually becoming a tradition with more and more supporters.