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NORD to Honor Rare Disease Pioneers
Date:5/11/2009

DANBURY, Conn., May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) will honor a senior U.S. Senator, a top Administration official, a cutting-edge television network, and several pioneering companies developing treatments for rare diseases at the 2009 NORD Gala at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on Thursday, May 14.

The NORD Gala is an annual event at which researchers and others are honored for significant achievements to improve the lives of people with rare diseases. NORD represents the nearly 30 million Americans who have rare diseases.

"We are honored to have this opportunity to pay tribute to pioneers in public policy, the sciences, and health-related education and awareness," NORD President and CEO Peter L. Saltonstall said. "These individuals and companies have demonstrated compassion and concern for what was once a forgotten community -- people who have diseases affecting small patient populations. We are happy to honor them for accomplishments that have literally saved lives."

In the United States, a disease is considered rare if it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are between 6,000 and 7,000 such diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans. Many rare diseases are serious, life-threatening and chronic.

The 2009 NORD Gala honorees are:

  • Senator Edward Kennedy for lifetime achievement in health promotion leadership and for specific accomplishments on behalf of populations that are underserved by our nation's healthcare system
  • Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, J.D., for his focus on reducing the disability backlog and improving service to the public
  • Discovery Health, for educational programming that helps the public understand problems such as difficulty getting an accurate diagnosis
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SOURCE National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
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