A Rare Show of Support: Day Puts Spotlight on Diseases
Rare Disease Day is a day that began in 2008 on Feb. 29, a leap year.
Ever since then, Rare Disease Day has taken place on the last day of February. The campaign started in Europe and has since grown with 94 countries all over the world participating last year. The U.S. joined in celebration of this day in 2009.
The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness about the over 6,000 rare diseases and their impact on patients' lives and their families' lives. The hope is that the awareness will spread to policy makers, public authorities, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who could ultimately offer help, hope and knowledge about rare diseases.
According to rarediseaseday.org, a rare disease is characterised by a broad diversity of disorders and symptoms that vary not only from disease to disease but patient to patient suffering from the same disease.
In the U.S., a rare disease is defined as rare when it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time. Fifty percent of rare diseases affect children.
Show solidarity this year by making a social media statement using the hashtag, #ShowYourRare.