Countdown to Cleveland: Why Walking Can Make a Difference This Year for the PI Community

Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PI) are a group of more than 300 rare and chronic disorders where part of the body’s immune system is missing or does not function properly.
Since one of the main functions of the body’s immune system is to fight off infections, patients with PI are more vulnerable to infections in the skin, sinuses, throat, ears, lungs, brain, spinal cord and more.

Some people with PI live their whole lives with increased susceptibility to recurrent health problems and may develop serious and debilitating illnesses over time. Read more about it here.

While thousands of people go undetected, there are about 250,000 individuals who are currently diagnosed with the disorders in the United States. It is the goal of the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) to provide patients with the opportunity for a full and whole life.

Although not many people know or understand the rare disorders that fall under the umbrella term, the IDF is doing something to change that. The foundation, founded in 1980, is a non-profit group that works nationwide to improve the process of being diagnosed and treated, and the overall quality of life for a person living with primary immunodeficiencies. The IDF engages in advocacy work around the nation, they also do educational programs and research to achieve their goal of a better quality of life for those with PI.

The IDF hosts a walk each year to raise money for research and because of last year’s walk, they were able to fund a new research grant. This grant was fully funded by the IDF walk and was awarded to its first winner this past fall. Sonia Sharma, a Ph.D. student of La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, took home the grant. With the IDF grant, she will be able to improve clinical research for PI which will bring the U.S. one step closer to better diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life for those with PI. Another round of grants will soon be awarded this year as well.

The 2017 IDF walk is set for September 24, 2017, which falls on a Sunday. The walk will take place in Cleveland, Ohio. For additional details check out the IDF details page here.

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