IFFGD Raises Awareness for Rare Digestive Diseases on Rare Disease Day 2020

IFFGD Raises Awareness for Rare Digestive Diseases on Rare Disease Day 2020

For Immediate Release

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Mount Pleasant, SC (February 26, 2020) – Each year, Rare Disease Day is recognized by people around the world on the last day of February. This is a day to bring attention to rare diseases and to encourage recognition of these conditions as a global health challenge. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) identifies a disease as rare if it affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. In Europe, a disease is defined as rare if fewer than 1 in 2,000 people are affected1.

As rare diseases are currently defined, there are as many as 7,000 conditions listed as rare, and 300 million people in the world are estimated to be affected by one or more of these conditions1. This year on February 29th, IFFGD will join the rare disease community in a social media campaign to raise awareness about rare diseases while highlighting those that affect the digestive tract using hashtags #RareDiseaseDay and #ShowYourStripes.

“We are joining the rare disease community to support all individuals around the world who are impacted by rare diseases,” said IFFGD President, Ceciel Rooker. “Greater awareness for each rare disorder and patient involvement in research gets us one step closer to better diagnoses and treatment options for those living with a rare condition(s).”

Many rare diseases such as Hirschsprung disease, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIP), achalasia, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID), and short bowel syndrome (SBS), among others, are documented to affect how the digestive tract functions. Symptoms associated with a rare disease and a chronic digestive disorder can be debilitating and life-altering. Increasing awareness by sharing information and personal stories about these rare diseases helps to educate the public while empowering millions who are impacted by a rare condition.

Ms. Rooker added, “Sharing your personal story and embracing the uniqueness of your disease are what Rare Disease Day is about. If you are living with a rare disease, remember that your stripes are unique, and when we raise awareness as a collective, we are powerful. Everyone should be proud to show his/her rare disease, not just for one day of the year but every day.”

1. Research recently published in the European Journal of Human Genetics, article authored by EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe, Orphanet & Orphanet Ireland “Estimating cumulative point prevalence of rare diseases: analysis of the Orphanet database”. The analysis is of rare genetic diseases and is therefore conservative as it does not include rare cancers, nor rare diseases caused by rare bacterial or viral infectious diseases or poisonings https://www.nature.com/articles/s41431-019-0508-0

About Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day is observed the last day of February on the 28th or 29th in a leap year – the rarest day of the year – to underscore the nature of rare diseases and encourage recognition of these conditions as a global health challenge. This awareness event was first established in Europe in 2008 by EURORDIS and is now observed in more than 80 countries. For more information about Rare Disease Day, visit https://www.rarediseaseday.org/.


The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) is a nonprofit education and research organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. Founded in 1991, IFFGD helps improve care by enhancing awareness, improving education, and supporting and encouraging research into treatments and cures for chronic digestive disorders. 

To learn more about IFFGD, please visit: Website: www.iffgd.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFFGD Twitter: www.twitter.com/IFFGD Instagram: www.instagram.com/DigestiveHealthMatters

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IFFGD is a nonprofit education and research organization. Our mission is to inform, assist, and support people affected by gastrointestinal disorders.

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