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February 29 - Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day is a global initiative to raise awareness and generate support for everyone who is on a rare medical journey. It takes place on the last day of February, which this year is February 29th, the rarest day of the year. 

RARE Is Not Rare

One out of every 10 Americans is living with a rare disease. Worldwide, there are more than 300 million people with rare diseases. Too often, these individuals and families are left isolated and without answers to their medical questions. It doesn't have to be that way. 

The European Organisation for Rare Diseases established the day in 2008 to raise awareness for unknown or overlooked illnesses. According to that organization, treatment for many rare diseases is insufficient, as are the social networks to support individuals with rare diseases and their families; furthermore, while there were already numerous days dedicated to individuals with specific diseases (such as AIDScancer, etc.), there had previously not been a day for representing those affected by rare diseases. In 2009, Rare Disease Day went global as the National Organization for Rare Disorders mobilized 200 rare disease patient advocacy organizations in the United States while organizations in China, Australia, Taiwan, and Latin America also led efforts in their respective countries to coordinate activities and promote the day.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is the trusted voice of the more than 30 million Americans living with a rare disease. We are proud to be the official U.S. partner for Rare Disease Day. We invite you to read on to learn how to #ShowYourStripes in support of those with a rare disease.


The zebra is the official mascot for rare disease patients. Historically, medical professionals were told that when they “hear hoofbeats,” they should not expect to see a zebra. In other words, look for the more common answer, a horse. Now, we know that one in ten Americans is a zebra! It might not be obvious when you look at us, which is why we show our stripes to raise awareness.
#ShowYourStripes - #RareDiseaseDay