PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 25 The National Psoriasis Foundation announced today the launch of a national public service announcement (PSA) for psoriasis featuring 2008 Olympic silver medalist and American record holder Dara Torres, a professional swimmer who has lived with psoriasis for nearly 20 years. Torres is the first Olympic athlete to speak out about psoriasis, a disease that affects as many as 7.5 million Americans.
Torres worked with the Psoriasis Foundation to produce the PSA to raise awareness that psoriasis is a serious disease of the immune system and not just a cosmetic condition. Torres and the Foundation want to encourage those living with this chronic disease to seek support, information and proper treatment to effectively manage their psoriasis.
"We commend Ms. Torres for speaking out about her own experience with psoriasis in an effort to educate and inspire others to seek appropriate diagnosis and treatment," said Randy Beranek, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. "Psoriasis is deeply misunderstood, and it's time people learn about the dramatic impact of this disease on the lives of those affected."
"Ms. Torres has created a legacy in the pool -- a place where many children and adults with psoriasis experience discrimination because others fear the disease is contagious," Beranek continued. "We are proud to have the support of this tremendous athlete in raising awareness about psoriasis."
With her recent participation in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Torres, 41, has won medals in five Olympic Games, making her the first U.S. swimmer to compete in that many Olympic competitions and the oldest female Olympic swimmer on record. In addition to her 12 lifetime Olympic medals, Torres set several American and world records, and is a 15-time U.S. national champion.
"I am thrilled to have worked with the National Psoriasis Foundation in creating a public service announcement that elevates the voice of psoriasis patients everywhere," Torres said. "I live with psoriasis and have experienced firsthand the difficulties of this disease. I've realized that it's important not to let psoriasis control your life and I encourage others with this condition to be their own champions in seeking education, support and effective treatment."
The National Psoriasis Foundation also recognizes Centocor Inc. for its support in the development of the PSA and for its ongoing commitment to the treatment of psoriasis. For more information and to view the PSA, visit www.psoriasis.org.
Psoriasis is a noncontagious, genetic disease that results when faulty signals in the immune system prompt skin cells to regenerate too quickly, causing red, scaly lesions that can crack and bleed. It often affects the elbows, knees, scalp and torso but can appear anywhere on the body. As many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, according to the National Institutes of Health. Ten percent to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. Psoriasis can affect anyone at any age, including children. There is no cure yet for this lifelong disease.
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
The National Psoriasis Foundation is the leading patient-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for millions of Americans with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, and their families. We focus on education, advocacy and research toward better treatments and a cure. For more information, please call the Psoriasis Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Ore., at 800.723.9166, or visit www.psoriasis.org.
SOURCE National Psoriasis Foundation