Feb. 28 is Rare Disease Day

Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from a rare disease

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They're the diseases that don't get much, if any, attention, but to the people who have them and their families, they are no less devastating.

Saturday, Feb. 28 has been designated Rare Disease Day -- a day designed to raise awareness of the illnesses you don't often hear about.

There are nearly 7,000 so-called "rare diseases." These are conditions that affect less than 200,000 people in the United States.

While each disease may be rare, all of those diseases together affect nearly one in ten Americans, nearly 30 million Americans in all.

The theme of Rare Disease Day 2015, "Living with a Rare Disease", focuses on the lives of people with a condition, as well as the families, friends, and caretakers of affected individuals, whose lives are also impacted. Even with early diagnosis and treatment, those affected by rare diseases often experience problems such as reaching medical experts and paying for care.

Rare Disease Day was established in Europe in 2008 by EURORDIS, the organization representing rare disease patients in Europe, and is now observed in more than 80 nations. Rare Disease Day is sponsored in the U.S. by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), a leading independent, non-profit organization committed to the identification, treatment and cure of rare diseases.

To learn more about Rare Disease Day in the U.S., click here.

To show your support for Rare Disease Day on Facebook, click here.

To visit NORD's website, click here.

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