The National Organization of Rare Disorders’ (NORD) yearly Rare Disease Day will be observed on Feb. 28, 2019. Rare Disease Day is an annual celebration the 25-30 million Americans living with one of the over 7,000 rare or orphan diseases. One in ten Americans suffers from a rare disease, a disease affecting less than 200,000 people.

This year’s campaign, “Show Your Stripes,” calls for the rare disease community to proudly dawn stripes on Rare Disease Day. Patients with rare diseases are sometimes referred to as “zebras.” The term comes from the aphorism coined in the late 1940s by a clinician who instructed his medical interns: “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras,” meaning that they should consider the most likely or common condition when diagnosing patients. With rare disease patients, however, clinicians must think of more rare conditions, or zebras.

NORD is also calling for the rare disease community to reach out to the public to challenge them to wear stripes in solidarity with those individuals living with a rare disease and to further awareness and education of such diseases.

Ambassador Dawn Stancliff will be hosting a booth on behalf of U.S. Pain Foundation at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

More events and information about Rare Disease Day is available here.