Rare Disease Day

Celebrated each year on the last day of February, Rare Disease Day is an international advocacy day designed to focus attention on the impact of rare diseases. The definition of "rare" varies by region—for example, in Europe a rare disease is defined as one affecting less than 1 in 2,000 people, while in the U.S. it's a disorder with an incidence of fewer than 200,000. But while individually each disease affects few, collectively they have a tremendous global impact on millions of patients and their families.

Since the day's launch in 2008 by EURORDIS, more than 1,000 events around the world have helped raise awareness among the general public as well as with policymakers, health care professionals, and others who can help make a difference in the fight against these diseases.

Genzyme Events Worldwide

Partnerships such as the PAL Awards program underscore Genzyme’s commitment to the rare disease community and demonstrate the importance of increased education and awareness of rare diseases.— David Meeker, CEO Genzyme

Each year, Genzyme offices around the world celebrate Rare Disease Day with a diverse array of events and activities. From exhibits of Expression of Hope artwork, to educational forums, to concerts, fundraising auctions, and much more, our employees come together in partnership with the patient community to demonstrate their commitment to the goals of this important day.
Learn about Genzyme's Rare Disease Day events

Learn More and Get Involved

Rare Disease Day was first launched in Europe in 2008 by the European Rare Disease Organization (EURORDIS). The following year, the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) became a partner to extend the initiative into the United States, and groups from several other regions participated as well. Today, dozens of countries host Rare Disease Day events, with more getting involved each year.

Each year, a different theme helps unify events worldwide. In 2016 the Rare Disease Day focus was on the Patient Voice, with the slogan "Join us in making the voice of rare diseases heard." 2017 is aimed around research in the rare disease space. To learn more about Rare Disease Day—past, present, and future—and explore ideas and guidance for how you and your organization can get involved, visit these official websites: