With over 6,800 rare diseases affecting 25 to 30 million Americans, there are a lot of Zebras out there.
Rare Disease Day is still fairly new, only having begun in 2008 by The National Organization for Rare Disorders and EURORDIS (The European Organization for Rare Disorders), led by patients worldwide. Every year on the last day of February, we celebrate and bring awareness to the multitude of rare diseases that 1 in 20 people will be impacted by in the course of their lifetime. It is important that we bring rare diseases to the attention of decision-makers, physicians, and the general public. So much remains unknown about rare diseases that many people go undiagnosed and suffer in silence, and those who do learn what’s afflicting them may never find a cure or anything to ease their pain and struggle.
Now, why Zebras? Zebras all have stripes, but every single one of them is different, much like a snowflake.Individuals who are afflicted by a rare disease all have something in common: They are all the same, yet each person’s diseases (or stripes) and unique experiences are completely different from each other. Zebras act as a unifier for people with rare diseases. While it might be difficult to find someone with the same rare disease as you, it will never be hard to find another zebra to lean on.
Visit rarediseaseday.us for more information and resources on how to get involved and #ShowYourStripes year-round to help make an impact!
The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD®) is the official sponsor of Rare Disease Day in the United States alongside our sister organization, EURORDIS (The European Organization for Rare Disorders), which organizes the official international campaign. To learn what’s happening around the world, visit the global Rare Disease Day website at rarediseaseday.org.