|When is Rare Disease Day?|
|What is Rare Disease Day?|
Rare Disease Day is held on the final day of February in recognition of the fact that this shortest month of the year has one day that's quite rare-leap day. Just as most people don't give leap day much thought, rare diseases don't usually get a lot of attention from medical researchers. But the patients and families impacted by rare diseases don't have the option to ignore the issue. In the United States, a disease that affects fewer than 200,000 people is considered rare, and there are more than 7,000 known rare diseases. Almost 1 in 10 Americans suffers from a rare disease, and many struggle to find adequate medical care because doctors-and even specialists-may be unfamiliar with these conditions.
Around the world, patients with rare diseases face similar challenges. That's why the European Organization for Rare Diseases launched the Rare Disease Day initiative in 2008 and the U.S. joined in the campaign a year later. The goal of this day is to raise awareness among the general public, health professionals, governments, and policy makers to advocate for better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases. In 2014, more than 80 countries joined in recognition of the day. Fundraising and educational events mark the occasion.