DANVERS, Mass., July 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 600 scleroderma patients, their family members, friends and caregiverswill join the world's leading scleroderma healthcare professionals and researchers at the upcoming 19th Annual Scleroderma Foundation National Patient Education Conference, to be held July 21-23 at the Sheraton
Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive autoimmune disease – like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis – in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissue. The disease, which literally means "hard skin," can cause thickening and tightening of the skin, as well as serious damage to internal organs including the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. Scleroderma occurs three to four times more often in women than in men.
The conference features more than 75 educational workshops, networking opportunities, exhibits, seminars and panel discussions, many of which are led by leading scleroderma researchers and healthcare professionals. Back by popular demand is the Kids and Teens program for children and teen patients, siblings of patients, sons/daughters of scleroderma patients, and other young people who are affected by the disease.
Andrew Botieri, founder of Total Peak Performance, and a motivational and thought leader expert, will give the Conference opening keynote address. Botieri, diagnosed in 1999 with systemic scleroderma, wrote the book "A Celebration of Life - A Story of Hope, A Miracle and The Power of Attitude" about his struggles and challenges of living with scleroderma using perseverance and a positive attitude.
The closing keynote speaker is Karen Vasquez. Diagnosed with scleroderma in 1994, she spent her twenties and thirties in the civilian and VA Health Care System. Because of the rareness of her gender in the veteran population, in addition to the rarity of her diagnoses, Karen learned to advocate for her treatment. That advocacy saved her life more than once. It also kept her strong enough to survive the worst, and beat her illnesses into remission.
The Scleroderma Foundation has 20 active chapters and 160 support groups across the U.S. It's estimated that 300,000 Americans suffer from scleroderma, a chronic and often life-threatening disease. The Foundation also promotes public awareness about scleroderma and funds peer review research to improve treatment and discover the cause and the cure.
For more information on registration, the conference and scleroderma, log on to www.scleroderma.org or call 1-800 -722 HOPE.
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SOURCE Scleroderma Foundation
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