WASHINGTON (7News) — Tuesday is a big day for patients at Children’s National Hospital, and doctors say you can help them make kids feel seen.
Feb. 28 is Rare Disease Day. To show your support, you can wear stripes. 7News Adrianna Hopkins spoke with Dr. Debra Regier at Children’s National Hospital about the meaning behind stripes and Rare Disease Day.
“In medical school, we’re taught if you hear hoof feet think horses, not zebras,” said Regier. “That’s to remind people common things are common. But in the rare disease world, we turn that on the head and say, ‘hey you always need to think of that uncommon thing. That zebra in the herd."
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Regier says about 1 in 10 patients at Children’s National Hospital have a rare disease. Wearing stripes shows them they’re not alone.
“You can imagine that sometimes it can feel really isolating to think you’re the only one suffering from a rare disease. And you can imagine being the only one in your classroom, then seeing everyone wearing stripes, or coming to the clinic and seeing everyone in stripes. It’s solidarity. It’s helping families of patients feel like they’re part of a community and realize the whole community is in support of that person,” she said.
Regier also says because these diseases are rare, patients often deal with delayed diagnoses and there’s a lack of funding for research to find treatments and cures.
She encourages people to wear stripes to “think about people around you. There’s someone in your community that’s dealing with a rare disease. Wearing stripes shows that person you care about them. They’re going to feel loved and supported by you.”