My experience working with AARDA has been incredible. Their accomplishments are as impressive as they are beneficial. They have been incredibly supportive and accomodating, and are very quick to respond to my questions and needs. I was surprised that when I had questions about fundraising, I was put in direct contact with Virginia Ladd, the President and Executive Director of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.

Over the course of my work with AARDA, it has become clear that the members of this organization are truly committed to their cause, and that they give the most genuine of efforts to support it. I could not be more proud of the charity I support.


(Taken from the following webpage. To see even more interesting facts, visit http://www.aarda.org/aarda_facts.php):

Although autoimmunity is the #2 cause of chronic illness, the level of basic autoimmune research funding is below 3 percent of the National Institutes of Health budget. AARDA supports basic autoimmune research, which will have impact on multiple autoimmune diseases by identifying the mechanisms that initiate the autoimmune response which triggers all autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity as a factor in chronic illness has just begun to be explored as it is being seen as a factor in many serious conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, which has only recently been recognized. In the past decade, 92 biotechnology companies have formed around autoimmunity, and 27 of the major pharmaceutical companies have some drug in development for an autoimmune disease.

AARDA's efforts in the area of physician education are very important because most autoimmune diseases are difficult to diagnose and treatment can be complicated, as many autoimmune diseases present with multifaceted involvement. A survey conducted by AARDA found that the average patient diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease had seen over four doctors over a four-year period before a correct diagnosis was made. Physicians have been trained to be specialists rather than generalists. General practitioners have little training in autoimmunity, yet they usually are the first physicians that patients see. In some autoimmune diseases, the window of opportunity to treat aggressively the serious manifestation of an autoimmune disease is lost before the patient is seen by a specialist. Major organs are seriously damaged before appropriate treatment begins.

AARDA's efforts in the area of patient education are vital to persons with autoimmune diseases. Not every autoimmune disease has its own national health agency. Many of those patients are referred to AARDA by the National Institutes of Health and the National Organization for Rare Disorders, as well as other organizations. Currently AARDA averages over 400,000 inquiries per year and has developed over 80 patient education information pamphlets.

Advocacy for increasing government funding for autoimmune research is an important program area for AARDA. Although autoimmunity is the #2 cause of chronic illness, the level of basic autoimmune research funding is below 3 percent of the National Institutes of Health’s budget. At AARDA’s urging, in 1998 Congress called for the NIH to form an Autoimmune Diseases Coordinating Committee under the Institute. AARDA representatives serve on this committee. Recently AARDA was successful in raising the level of autoimmune research by $150 million over the next five years. Additionally, AARDA spearheaded the advocacy effort and was successful in having legislative language included in the Children’s Health Act that required NIH to develop a national strategic plan for autoimmune disease research. In 2003 NIH presented the plan to Congress, and AARDA is leading the advocacy efforts to provide full funding of $450 million to initiate the plan. AARDA is currently involved in advocating for passage of the HR 2084, the Prevention, Awareness, and Research of Autoimmune Diseases (PARAiD) Act, which was introduced by Patrick Kennedy in 2009.

AARDA initiated, supports, and facilitates the National Coalition of Autoimmune Patient Groups (NCAPG), a coalition of 30 national voluntary health agencies which represent specific autoimmune diseases. AARDA coordinates advocacy efforts of these groups on behalf of basic autoimmune research funding. AARDA also sponsors a Congressional Briefing annually on Autoimmune Diseases and the impact of these diseases on society.

A list of some of AARDA's impressive accomplishments can be found at http://www.aarda.org/accomplishments.php

(Taken from the following webpage. Please view the complete statement at http://www.aarda.org/mission_statement.php):

The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association is dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases and the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner.

The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) is a national 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. AARDA adheres to the standards of the National Charities Information Bureau and the Better Business Bureau, being a BBB Accredited Charity. AARDA is a certified member of the National Health Council (NHC) and meets all NHC standards and guidelines. AARDA is also a member in good standing of the International Alliance of Patient Organizations. The AARDA is a four-star charity as rated by Charity Navigator. Its score: 67.82 out of 70.

The requirements for an organization to qualify as 501(c)(3) are outlined here: http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=96099,00.html

For more information about The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, please visit their website at:http://www.aarda.org/

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