February 29 is Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day is an annual, awareness-raising event co-ordinated by EURORDIS at the international level and National Alliances of Patient Organisations at the national level

The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives.

The campaign targets primarily the general public but it is also designed for patients and patient representatives, as well as politicians, public authorities, policy-makers, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who has a genuine interest in rare diseases.

Since Rare Disease Day was first launched by EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances in 2008, more than 1000 events have taken place throughout the world reaching hundreds of thousands of people and resulting in a great deal of media coverage.

The political momentum resulting from the Day has also served for advocacy purposes. It has notably contributed to the advancement of national plans and policies for rare diseases in a number of countries.

Even though the campaign started as a European event, it has progressively become a world event, with the US joining in 2009 and patient organisations in 56 other countries participating in 2011. We hope many more will join in 2012. Our objective is for the WHO to recognise the last day of February as the official Rare Disease Day.

See the Official Rare Disease Day Video HERE

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