Today is Rare Disease Day, an initiative first started by EURORDIS (The European Organization for Rare Disorders) in Europe on February 29, 2008 to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. The United States joined the following year alongside the EURORDIS sister organization, The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
A rare disease, also known as an orphan disease, is any disease, disorder, illness, or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. Although the disease may be rare, patients and families share a common struggle. For more facts and statistics about rare diseases, please check out NORD’s Rare Disease Fact Sheet.
This year’s global theme ‘Bridging Health and Social Care’. Focusing on bridging the gaps in the coordination between medical, social and support services in order to tackle the challenges that people living with a rare disease and their families around the world face every day. In the United States, the official symbol of rare diseases is the zebra for its black and white stripes, which are central to its uniqueness.
Rare Disease Day is for every, and below are some ways to participate:
- Share your own story of life with a rare disease
- Check out different graphics to post on your social media accounts
- Share posts from other people and organizations to increase awareness
- Join in on a local Rare Disease Day event
- Raise awareness on social media (#ShowYourRare, #ShowYourStripes, #RareDiseaseDay, #Pledge4Rare, #CareForRare)
- Find out more here