Rosanna Fikry will participate in the Sjogrens Walkabout and Health Fair awareness event at the Philadelphia Zoo on May 3. Registration and festivities begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walkabout begins at 10 a.m.
Sjögren’s, pronounced Show-grins, is a chronic autoimmune disease, in which the white blood cells attack the moisture producing glands. Along with symptoms of dryness Sjögren's can affect any body organ or system.
"Raising awareness became a no brainer for me once I saw the great difficulty it took to get a diagnosis,” Fikry said. “People suffer for years because this disease is so difficult to pin down. Even with a diagnosis, the available treatments are, in my opinion, not that effective. We need to make sure that there is a quicker diagnosis, and that there are more effective treatments to reduce the very real suffering this disease causes."
Sjögren's affects upwards of 4 million Americans, nine out of ten are women. Due to the lack of awareness, it takes on average over 4.7 years to diagnosis, according to a Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation press release.
All proceeds from the Walkabout will go directly to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, a non-profit health organization dedicated solely to Sjögren’s syndrome to fund research, education and awareness initiatives.
Fikry started a fundraising page on firstgiving.com. Her goal was $1,500, and she already raised $2,036 in three weeks. She is still accepting donations here.
The event will also feature music, games and face painting, among other activities.
To sign up or obtain more information about how you can participate in the Walkabout or to learn about the local support network, please contact Elizabeth Trocchio at the SSF firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sjogrens.org.