A Salute to Achievements in the Scleroderma Community
Annual Awards Recognize Dedication and Commitment to Rare Disease Population
DANVERS, Mass., Aug. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Scleroderma Foundation named Sergio A. Jimenez, M.D., its 2013 Doctor of the Year. The award recognizes a skilled physician or researcher for his or her involvement within the Foundation, and for helping provide guidance and support to the organization’s patient population.
Dr. Jimenez has devoted nearly four decades to the treatment of patients with scleroderma and to conduct research studies aimed at the identification and characterization of the molecular and biochemical alterations caused by the disease. He is currently Director of the Scleroderma Center, Co-Director of the Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine, Director of the Division of Connective Tissue Diseases, and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. As Dr. Jimenez accepted his award he said, “I want to thank my patients with scleroderma, who over the years, have shown me numerous virtues and qualities of the human spirit. They have shown me an enormous courage and great strength of character to fight the disease, remarkable endurance and resilience to cope with the often devastating effects of scleroderma; and most importantly, they have shown me an enormous generosity and selflessness.”
In addition to his clinical and research work, he has been a long-time supporter of the Scleroderma Foundation and has served on its Medical Advisory Board since its inception in 1998, and before that as an advisor to the organizations that preceded the current Foundation. “Without the dedication of medical professionals like Dr. Jimenez, the Foundation could not offer the number of resources and information it does to those living with scleroderma,” said Robert J. Riggs, the organization’s CEO.
The Foundation presented 11 other awards during a banquet at its 15th Annual National Patient Education Conference held recently in Atlanta. This year’s Messenger of Hope award, which acknowledges an individual’s words or actions that offer hope and inspiration, was presented to Carol Feghali-Bostwick, Ph.D. Last year, Dr. Feghali-Bostwick and her research team at the University of Pittsburgh identified a protein molecule, the E4 peptide, which published laboratory studies indicate can stop and reverse fibrosis. Studies by the National Institutes of Health indicate that some sort of tissue fibrosis contributes to 45 percent of deaths in developed countries, including heart, lung, liver and kidney disorders. The news about the E4 peptide is significant not only for the scleroderma community, but for millions of people living with other conditions around the world.
The Philanthropist of the Year award honored Bill and Joi Goodbread, of St. Louis, Mo., for their continued support of the Foundation’s National Conference Scholarship Fund. The Goodbreads have provided an opportunity for those who otherwise would be unable to attend the National Patient Education Conference through their support of the scholarship fund. “In addition to their philanthropic generosity, Bill and Joi have worked tirelessly to help others living with scleroderma through board service as well as countless hours spent working on special events, advocacy and patient education,” said Tracey O. Sperry, the Foundation’s Director of Development and Research.
Other award honorees were:
-- Lifetime Achievement Award: Mary Blades, Springfield, Mo. -- National Volunteer of the Year: Tracy Frech, M.D., M.S., Salt Lake City, Utah -- Chapter Volunteers of the Year: Doreen Towhey and Peggy Levengood, Lilburn, Ga. -- Support Group Volunteer of the Year: Donna Stone, Portland, Ore. -- Individual Fundraiser of the Year: Wade Dauberman, Muncy, Pa. -- Chapter of the Year: Greater San Diego Chapter -- Outstanding Chapter Awareness: Michigan Chapter -- Outstanding Patient Education Program: Southern California Chapter -- Outstanding Patient Support Award: Washington Evergreen Chapter
For more information about the annual awards, please contact the Scleroderma Foundation’s National Office at (800) 722-HOPE (4763).
Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks one’s body.
Scleroderma means “hard skin.” It can cause a thickening and tightening of the skin. In some cases, it causes serious damage to internal organs including the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. As scarring, or sclerosis, of these organs and organ systems progress, they work less effectively, and can lead to organ failure and death.
Some medications and treatments can help with certain symptoms, but there is no cure for scleroderma. The disease affects about 300,000 people across the U.S.
About the Scleroderma Foundation
The Scleroderma Foundation is the national organization for people with scleroderma, their families and friends. It was formed Jan. 1, 1998, by a merger between the United Scleroderma Foundation and the Scleroderma Federation.
The Scleroderma Foundation is headquartered in the metro Boston area in Danvers, Mass. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving the interests of people living with scleroderma. The Foundation has a network of 24 chapters and 150 support groups committed to carrying out the three-fold mission of support, education and research. The Scleroderma Foundation is the largest nonprofit funder of peer-reviewed medical research, making available at least $1 million per year in new research grants to find the cause, better treatments, and a cure for scleroderma.
For more information about the Scleroderma Foundation, visit www.scleroderma.org or call (800) 722-HOPE (4673). You also can find the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/sclerodermaus) and Twitter (@scleroderma).
SOURCE Scleroderma Foundation