To use statistics from the US as an example there are 50 million people with autoimmune disease and 11 million with cancer in the population. Autoimmune disease is the poor cousin in this equation. Cancer is estimated to be receiving $7762 million this year (2013) compared to $872 million for autoimmune disorders.
So the number of cancer diagnoses is equivalent to 20% of autoimmune diagnoses and yet autoimmune disease gets only 11% as much money as cancer gets for research.
Comparison of incidence and research funding
Cancers and Autoimmune Diseases
If this looks like a problem in the US imagine how difficult the problem is in countries where there are fewer resources available in healthcare and by some reports I have read, the same incidence.
For these reasons WAAD (World Autoimmune and Arthritis Day) sounds like a great idea to me. It's a chance for people and groups with an interest in or a shared diagnosis of autoimmune arthritis from all around the world to get together and communicate online in the chat sessions or the informal chat of the lounge. There is also a great opportunity for all of us to learn from the downloadable presentations,information sessions and blogs.
I'm hoping that we can all take information from this virtual convention and use it to spread awareness among our friends and also in the medical profession. It would be great if our efforts to do this would spread like dandelion seeds around the world.
Dandelion (El Alamein) Fountain, Sydney, Australia
If you want to participate this is what you do. Go to the site http://worldautoimmunearthritisday.org/expo/. Once you are there scroll down to sign up at the lower left. Questions will be appreciated.
Another issue around awareness and funding may be that 75% of the people with autoimmune arthritis are women who often do not 'look sick' . The variety of autoimmune diseases also works against us, but we will be stronger when we can speak with one voice.
So let's start talking!!
Having a virtual global convention that lasts for a full 24 hours in every part of the world is a good step towards uniting our many voices.