January Declared as Gaucher Awareness Month in Israel

Cara Hesse | February 12, 2013

This post comes to us from Adi Melcer from the Genzyme-Israel office. Adi, along with several of his Genzyme-Israel colleagues, attended the Israeli Gaucher Patients’ Association annual meeting on January 1st. Here Adi describes the meeting and the response in Israel to the green shoe lace campaign.

My colleagues and I were delighted to participate in the annual meeting of the Israeli Gaucher Patients’ Association held in early January. More than 250 people attended the conference, including patients, families, clinicians, researchers, industry representatives and many others. It was a packed agenda, with workshops on topics such as patients’ rights and updates on recent changes to the Ministry of Health committee that reviews treatment for Gaucher disease. 

This year we decided to follow the lead of our U.S. counterparts by initiating the “Steps Ahead of Gaucher” campaign in Israel. Genzyme launched the campaign last year to support the efforts of the U.S.-based National Gaucher Foundation. We thought this was a great initiative that would also resonate with the Israeli Gaucher patient community, so we launched it at the meeting and invited attendees to join us in “lacing up.” Though our goal was to help increase awareness in Israel and support the Israeli Gaucher Patients’ Association, of course, we were delighted to also help make this campaign a more global one by bringing it to Israel.

The bright green neon green shoe laces of the Steps Ahead of Gaucher serve to promote public dialogue about Gaucher—symptoms, treatment, prevalence, and all other aspects surrounding the disease. It is a visible and unique symbol that certainly starts conversations! This campaign was enthusiastically welcomed by the patients who thanked Genzyme for the support shown over the years.

Eliav Michai, our country manager for Genzyme-Israel, said "We were pleased to introduce the green shoelace initiative at the meeting and look forward to supporting the Israeli patient community with this or other initiatives in the future." The shoe laces, instructions, and information sheets (translated into Hebrew) were handed to the attendees who braided laces into arm bracelets, their shoes and anywhere else that was clearly visible.

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