Lacing Up Your Shoes for Gaucher Disease

Kathleen Coolidge | November 20, 2012

During the month of October, Genzyme helped support the National Gaucher Foundation’s efforts to recognize Gaucher Awareness Month. Having partnered with the Gaucher community and the National Gaucher Foundation for more than 28 years, we wanted to make sure that all employees (even if they just joined the company) knew of our legacy with the community and our continued commitment. 

Much like other disease awareness campaigns, we wanted to promote public dialogue about Gaucher—symptoms, treatment, prevalence, and all other aspects surrounding the disease. In order to do that, we felt we needed something noticeable that people could wear. It needed to be visible and it needed to be unique, and it needed to be a conversation starter. So Genzyme and the NGF decided to go with bright neon green shoelaces to be distributed to family, coworkers, teachers, and friends.

We are delighted to have distributed more than 13,000 green shoelaces that we believe started real, and even virtual conversations about “why” someone was wearing green shoelaces—truly generating disease awareness. Much to our surprise, some people joked that it could become a new fashion statement.

The highlight of the month was a visit by the first-ever clinical trial pediatric Gaucher patient from 1984, who is now the President of the National Gaucher Foundation. He spoke to a packed auditorium of Genzyme employees about the impact the disease and treatment had on him as a young boy and now as a father of three young children. It was a moment that Genzyme employees will never forget and truly brought the importance of disease awareness to the forefront of everyone’s thoughts.

No matter how long we, as a company, have been working with a disease, an awareness month can bring refreshed commitment and renewed determination.

The Steps Ahead of Gaucher website allowed people to post pictures wearing their green shoelaces for Gaucher Awareness month.

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