The EURORDIS Photo Award is an opportunity to visually express what it means to live with a rare disease and to share your story with the rare disease community and beyond.

The contest is open to all nationalities, ages, and diseases. Every year, hundreds of people from all around the world submit their photos, each reflecting the drive of people living with a rare disease.

From all who entered, five finalists were selected by the award-winning photographer Marcus Bleasdale, before being put to a public vote. The winners were announced on the night of the EURORDIS Black Pearl Awards, on 8th February 2022. The three finalists with the most votes each received a Prize.


PHOTO AWARD 2022 winners



1) Smiling underwater

Disease: Angelman Syndrome
Country: Portugal
Photographer: Catarina Costa Duarte

Caption: Pedro is an ANGEL and is always smiling. Pedro loves water and even underwater he keeps his contagious smiles.

2) Dalmatian(s)

Disease: Congenital Melanocytic Nevus
Country: Spain
Photographer: Lucía Lamata

Caption: Throughout my life I have often been compared with Dalmatians because of my skin condition, so I took a photo with one of them!

3) Federico

Disease: Trisomy 9 Mosaic
Country: Italy
Photographer: Emiliano Cribari

Caption: Trisomy 9 Mosaic is a rare chromosomal disorder for which the chromosome 9 appears 3 times (trisomy) rather than 2. The term ‘mosaic’ indicates that the chromosome is not present in all the cells but only in some of them. Associated symptoms and results may change substantially according to the percentage of cells with the extra chromosome. However, the common features include slow growth before birth, mental retardation, heart structural malformations and distinctive features of the skull and face like a sloping forehead, and malformed ears. Individuals with trisomy 9 mosaicism can vary very much one from another. He is Federico: six years old, blind. He speaks through body language, just like a dancer.


Marcus Bleasdale

Marcus Bleasdale is a talented documentary photographer and photojournalist who has been dedicated to advocacy and human rights for over fifteen years. His work on human rights and conflict during his role as a photographer for National Geographic Magazine has helped to educate and advise corporations and policy makers around the world. Marcus has also partnered with various international advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Watch.

In 2002, his first book “One Hundred Years of Darkness” was published, soon followed by “The Rape of a Nation” (2009) and “The Unravelling” (2015). Appearing in the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Sunday Times Magazine and TIME Magazine to name a few, he has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award (2004), the Anthropographia Award for Photography and Human Rights (2010) and the Amnesty International Award (2015).



entries from previous years


Check out more inspiring photos from the last few years:

See entries from the 2021 EURORDIS Photo Award

See entries from the 2020 EURORDIS Photo Award

See entries from the 2019 EURORDIS Photo Award

See entries from the 2018 EURORDIS Photo Award

full gallery

Thank you all for the touching and inspiring photos we have received!