The week of February 22 to 29 marks the observance of the 11th National Rare Disease Week. Aimed at raising awareness about the challenges of people living with rare disease, this tradition began with Presidential Proclamation 1989 signed by then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in February 2010, declaring the last week of February as the “National Rare Disease Week” in the Philippines.
With the theme “Greatness is Rare,” this year’s Rare Disease Week shines the spotlight on the people living with unique conditions, rare diseases, and orphan disorders. Taking inspiration from the zebra and its distinctive stripes, the campaign is part of a global initiative to invite the world at large to show its stripes in support of the rare disease community.
“The zebra is the symbol for rare disease because each of them have their own set of distinctive stripe patterns,” said Cynthia Magdaraog, president of the Philippine Society of Orphan Disorders Inc. “Every stripe is unique and every individual is great in their own way. Hence, we are inviting everybody to show their stripes and tell the world that Greatness is Rare.”
Together with the rest of the world, the country will also observe World Rare Disease Day on the rarest day of all—February 29, in order to raise awareness and highlight the challenges that people living with a rare disease and their families around the world face every day.