Shining a Light on Eosinophil-Associated Diseases

May 16, 2024

Atlanta, GA (May 14, 2024) – The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) is celebrating the 3rd annual World Eosinophilic Diseases Day (WEDD) on May 18, and the 17th annual National Eosinophil Awareness Week (NEAW) May 19-25, 2024.

Eosinophils (pronounced “ee-oh-sin-oh-fills”) are a type of white blood cell that play a role in immune system responses. Typically, eosinophils make up less than 5% of circulating white blood cells, but many different conditions can cause the body to make too many eosinophils, including but not limited to allergies (food and environmental), certain infections (caused by parasites), certain cancers.

When a person has too many eosinophils in their digestive system, tissues, organs, and/or bloodstream, without a known cause, it may be because of an eosinophil-associated disease. The diagnosis depends on where in the body the eosinophils are found. Eosinophils may affect different parts of the body, including but not limited to the gastrointestinal tract, heart, sinuses, blood, lungs, bladder, and connective tissue.

Eosinophil-associated diseases are chronic conditions that require long-term management. The symptoms may be debilitating and impact quality of life. Both adults and children may be affected and many subsets of eosinophil-associated diseases are rare.

In celebration of World Eosinophilic Diseases Day and National Eosinophil Awareness Week 2024, more than 50 landmarks in more than 40 states will be lighting up magenta, the color of eosinophilic disease awareness. These landmarks include bridges, sports stadiums, and tourist attractions, to name a few. A complete list of lightings, as well as suggested activities for individuals and groups to celebrate these special events appears at apfed.org/neaw.

Another way APFED will elevate awareness this month is by launching a public awareness campaign on the digital display of NASDAQ Tower in New York City from May 19-26. This campaign will teach people common symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a subset of eosinophil-associated diseases that affects the esophagus, which can make swallowing food difficult or uncomfortable. The ad will appear in rotation, 4 times an hour during the campaign period. The opportunity was made possible thanks to grants from Sanofi, Regeneron, and Takeda.

APFED is asking members of the public to help raise awareness by taking photos of special lightings they see, or in front of the digital billboard at NASDAQ Tower, and sharing the photos on social media using the #NEAW #eosaware hashtags.

“As a patient community, we’re thrilled to see the spotlight shining brightly on eosinophil-associated diseases during World Eosinophilic Diseases Day and National Eosinophil Awareness Week,” said APFED Executive Director Mary Jo Strobel. “These events not only raise awareness and improve symptom recognition, but also provide a sense of unity and support for those navigating the challenges of living with these conditions. Together, we can amplify our voices and advocate for greater understanding, research, and support.”

“Increasing awareness of eosinophil-associated diseases is crucial in ensuring early detection and management,” said Mirna Chehade, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, and founding director of the Mount Sinai Center for Eosinophilic Disorders at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. “Events like World Eosinophilic Diseases Day and National Eosinophil Awareness Week help educate the public and healthcare providers alike, fostering a better understanding of these complex disorders. We hope that this will improve the lives of affected patients and their families.”

To learn more about eosinophil-associated diseases and ways to celebrate World Eosinophilic Diseases Day and National Eosinophil Awareness Week, please visit apfed.org/NEAW.

APFED is grateful for the support of its education partners during its 2024 celebration of National Eosinophil Awareness Week. This includes Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers SquibbTM, EvoEndo®, GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitt Mead Johnson, Sanofi, Regeneron, and Takeda. Their support provides APFED with the means to create and disseminate educational materials to patients, providers, and the public with broad outreach.

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About American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED)
Founded in 2001, the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists and supports patients and families affected by eosinophil-associated disorders, by providing education, creating awareness, supporting research, and promoting advocacy. To learn more, visit apfed.org.

 

Join us July 11-13 in Washington, DC or online for EOS Connection 2024!

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