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Rare Disease Day

Join us in raising awareness for rare diseases on Rare Disease Day - help us make a difference and spread knowledge about these special causes.
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February 28
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Each year on February 28th, people from around the world come together to recognize and raise awareness for Rare Disease Day. Established in 2008, this day is dedicated to honoring those living with a rare disease as well as their families and caregivers. With over 6,000 different types of rare diseases, this day is an important reminder to all of us that we should be mindful of these conditions and strive to support those affected by them. It's also a great opportunity to celebrate how far medical science has come in the past few decades in understanding and treating rare diseases.

History of Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day Dates

Rare Disease Day Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2008</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Establishment of Rare Disease Day</div><div class='timeline-text'>Rare Disease Day was established by EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances to raise awareness for over 6,000 identified rare diseases.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2008</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Rare Disease Day</div><div class='timeline-text'>The first-ever Rare Disease Day was hosted on February 29th, a 'rare' date. After 2008, it continues to be observed on February 28th.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2009</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Spreading Awareness Globally</div><div class='timeline-text'>Rare Disease Day started getting global attention with participation from 24 countries including New Zealand, Canada, and the US.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2013</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Patient Voice Recognition</div><div class='timeline-text'>The Rare Disease Day campaign was titled "Rare Disorders without Borders," emphasizing the need to listen to the patient's voice.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2015</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Day for Research Progress</div><div class='timeline-text'>Rare Disease Day highlighted the critical role of research in discovering new treatments and potentially curing rare diseases.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2020</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Marking Achievements in Diagnosis</div><div class='timeline-text'>Rare Disease Day celebrated the advancements in technology and diagnostics making it possible to detect rare diseases early and accurately.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Rare Disease Day

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Organize a walk</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Organize a walk in your community to raise awareness and money for rare diseases. Invite local business sponsors or partner with charities to help fund the event.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Host a fundraiser</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Host a fundraiser to benefit research on rare diseases. Create t-shirts and other merchandise to support the cause. Ask local businesses to donate items for a silent auction.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Write letters</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Write letters to your local congressional representatives and ask them to support legislation that would fund research on rare diseases.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Create art</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Create art that celebrates rare disease awareness. Showcase your work in an art gallery or on social media to get the word out.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Volunteer</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Volunteer at a local hospital or clinic that offers treatment for rare diseases. Your help can make a difference in the lives of those affected by these diseases.</p></div></div>

Why Rare Disease Day is Important

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>Raising awareness for rare diseases</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>By raising awareness and advocating for those affected by rare diseases, Rare Disease Day helps to bring much-needed attention and support to the cause. This can help create more funding for research into these conditions, which could lead to improved treatments and a better understanding of the causes.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>Breaking down stigmas</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>By highlighting the reality of living with rare diseases, Rare Disease Day helps break down any negative stigmas associated with them. It raises awareness not only of the conditions but also of how it affects the everyday life of those who live with them. This is important in destigmatizing rare diseases and normalizing conversations about them.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>Creating a sense of community</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Rare Disease Day provides an opportunity for those affected by rare diseases to find others who understand what they are going through. It creates a safe space where people can connect, share their stories, offer support, and celebrate what makes them unique. This can create a powerful sense of solidarity that will hopefully inspire lasting change.</p></div></div>

5 Illuminating Facts for Rare Disease Day

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>80% of Rare Diseases Have Genetic Origins</h3><p class='facts-content'>Most rare diseases are caused by genetic mutations, often passed down through generations. Some are present in a person from birth, while others may not appear until later in life.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Many Rare Diseases Have No Dedicated Foundation</h3><p class='facts-content'>Due to the rarity and diverse nature of these diseases, not all of them have specific foundations or charities devoted to them, making raising awareness and funds even more crucial.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Approximately 50% of Rare Diseases Affect Children</h3><p class='facts-content'>It's a troubling fact that half of those affected by rare diseases globally are children. Many of these diseases are severe and life-threatening, with a significant proportion resulting in physical or mental disabilities.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Less Than 5% of Rare Diseases Have Treatments</h3><p class='facts-content'>Due to the complexity of these diseases and the fact that each affects a small population, less than 5% of rare diseases have FDA-approved treatments. This highlights the urgent need for continued research and medical advancements.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Rare Diseases Impact More People Than Cancer & AIDS Combined</h3><p class='facts-content'>Despite each rare disease affecting a small number of people individually, combined, it is estimated that 25-30 million people in the U.S. have a rare disease. This is more than the estimated numbers for cancer and AIDS patients combined, shedding light on the immense scale of the issue.</p></div></div>

Rare Disease Day FAQs

When is Rare Disease Day?

Rare Disease Day falls on February 28th every year. In 2024, it will be celebrated on a Wednesday.

Rare Disease Day Dates



Feb 28



Feb 28



Feb 28



Feb 28



Feb 28


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