Designate “LD Awareness & Cures” as the 2019 World Health Day Campaign for WHO

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Last year, working closely with supporters, the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) fought for long overdue recognition of lymphedema (LE) and lymphatic diseases. The result was that World Lymphedema Day was celebrated around the world. This is what is possible when we unleash our energy and focus it on the change we demand. These represent just a few of the celebrations, announcements, and legislative resolutions around the globe recognizing this achievement:

  • Advocates from over 25 countries participated in the kick-off video.
  • The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill establishing March 6 as World Lymphedema Day.
  • Ottawa, Canada became the first municipality to issue a Proclamation honoring the day.
  • India announced WLD at their AIIMs Surgical Conference in New Dehli.
  • Europe connected with the Diplomatic Courier to present at their Well Being Conference.
  • South America created a video with advocates from every country stating their support and advocacy.
  • The President of the Lymphedema Association of Galicia in Spain wrote, “Not only are you bringing about great change in lymphedema for those who live in the USA, but also a very big change for the world. God bless World Lymphedema Day!”

We now join in solidarity with global lymphedema advocates to ask that the World Health Organization (WHO) declare "LD Awareness & Cures" the focus of WORLD HEALTH DAY 2019. Our goal is to make lymphedema (LE) and lymphatic diseases (LD) a global priority.

  • Our goal is to engage the governments and researchers around the world to dedicate themselves to finding advanced treatments and cures.
  • Our goal is to address the incredible psycho-social burden of those with LE who have felt themselves marginalized, are unable to find treatment and whose quality of life has been negatively transformed by this disease.

In keeping with these goals, we ask that the World Health Organization (WHO) declare "LD Awareness & Cures" the focus of WORLD HEALTH DAY 2019.

Fact: WHO estimates that over 150 million people worldwide have secondary LE

Fact: NIH estimates that primary LE could affect as many as 1 in 300 live births

Fact: WHO estimates that over 120 million are infected with lymphatic filariasis (LF), leaving 40 million disfigured and incapacitated

WHO’s World Health Day is recognized on April 7. It was established to be a call to action for critical health issues affecting the world’s population.

  • The World Health Day 2016 campaign was “Beat Diabetes.” Its objective was to increase awareness of the burden and consequences of that disease worldwide.
  • The World Health Day 2017 campaign was “Depression,” which kicked-off in October 2016, and is focused on prevention and treatment.
  • The World Health Day 2018 campaign is “Universal Health.”
  • Now, we ask the lymphatic and LE community to sign a petition asking that WHO make World Health Day: “Lymphedema: Awareness & Cures.”

We need awareness so that medical practitioners and therapists are prepared to treat all who come to them with LE and lymphatic diseases. We need awareness to inspire communities around the world to embrace this as a common cause. We need awareness to encourage our greatest minds to engage in research and our institutions to then make a priority of funding this research. And then we need to make finding a cure a global priority. Miracles await if we dedicate ourselves to finding them. 

Success is up to us. Success is up to you! Make your voice heard and sign this petition.

William Repicci
Executive Director, LE&RN

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