2017: in Review

Spoiler Alert: I discuss plot points from the movie Logan

Writing a review about 2017 has been a very tough task for me, I’ve been delaying putting the finger to keyboard. The death of my best friend David Mayes on 9th October has profoundly affected me. He was such a great guy, loved by everyone and always with tips regarding new gadgets that would make life easier. RIP David Mayes.

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With the overlying absurdity of Donald Trump throughout 2017, society seems to be reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ and motivated to disrupt this present paradigm to create a healthier future. It’s a time of change and endings.

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I’ve been forced outside my comfort zone when the technology I have always relied upon to interact with the world failed. I decided to challenge an impossibility and transition from using a MacBook trackpad to using a regular mouse. Amazingly, after finding the right mouse and on-screen keyboard I’m now able to be much more productive and less fatigued. The Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum mouse (what a mouthful) has 11 programmable buttons, an adjustable hyperfast scroll-wheel, advanced sensitivity options and customisable profiles when gaming. Perfect!

 The best part of 2017 was the opportunity to work with Microsoft UK (alongside MDUK) and meet some incredible experts in the technology industry. Assistive Technology is extremely necessary for disabled people so my goal in 2018 is to either spread awareness or improve the options available.

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The rebirth of old movie franchises such as Alien Covenant or Star Wars: The Last Jedi (which I’ve yet to see) highlights how stagnant the movie industry has become since the superhero shared universe explosion. However, Spiderman: Homecoming was a brilliant movie.

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My favourite movie this year Logan was a beautiful celebration of the superhero genre: I’d say as powerful as the Dark Knight. Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of Wolverine was a gritty, violent but surprisingly thoughtful action film. Logan was a metaphor to highlight the necessity of change and passing the responsibilities onto the next generation.

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The theme of Logan was family which has always been threaded throughout the last 10 Xmen movies. We have witnessed the characters Wolverine and Prof X emotionally broken down, exhausted and fearing the future for mutantkind. Wolverine fighting his younger clone and X23 killing the younger clone is a 4th Wall break asking us to forgive the previous terrible movies and have faith in the future of the Xmen franchise.

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The Netflix TV series Stranger Things was incredible, it took a 2month chunk of my year. The 80s E.T Twin Peaks vibe was unique and seemed fresh. Every actor was perfect for their role as a character with believable performances.

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My favourite game of 2017 was definitely Divinity Original Sin 2 but closely followed by What Remains of Edith Finch. I’ve yet to finish Divinity Original Sin 2 even after 50+ hours but the story is unexpectedly compelling, characters with great humour, difficult combat with 100+ abilities you can experiment with and strange but funny touches such as the ability to speak to animals. What Remains of Edith Finch was a masterpiece in exploring difficult themes, leading you to celebrate life by exploring the Finch family’s life and death. I recommend everybody to experience this game.

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2017 ended with an amazing scientific breakthrough regarding individuals (like myself) living with the bleeding disorder Haemophilia A, there are around 2000 people living with haemophilia A in the UK. Haemophilia A is a hereditary condition in which a genetic defect prevents the production of the necessary protein involved in the blood clotting process called Factor VIII. As of yet, there is no cure, the current treatment involves intravenous injections of Factor VIII alternate days or more frequently if required.

The most worrying time for me growing up with Haemophilia was during the stage where my teeth fell out, it was extremely terrifying as every morning my pillow would be saturated with blood.

In 2017, clinical researchers at Bart’s Health NHS Trust and Queen Mary University of London conducted pioneering gene therapy on 13 patients with Haemophilia A. Patients were injected with a copy of the missing gene, delivering genetic instructions to produce the missing clotting factor. A virus was used to deliver genetic instructions to the liver to create Factor VIII. After measuring the amount of blood clotting proteins in the bloodstream of patients, it was found that 11 patients in the trial now have normal or near-normal levels of the previously missing factor and all thirteen patients have been able to stop their previously regular treatment.

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What is truly remarkable about this revolutionary new gene therapy is the profound life-changing effects it offers patients with haemophilia A like myself. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that a cure for one of my genetic conditions would ever be found. I’m very appreciative of the difficult and pain-staking work these clinical researchers and scientists did to find this ground-breaking cure.

It’s an amazing way to end 2017 by celebrating the supposedly impossible finally becoming possible.

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Who else is ready for 2018?

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