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Advocates on Steps of Congress 2018
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Contact Your Senators: Help Protect Scleroderma Research Funding


ACTION ALERT: Contact your Senators and ask them to continue supporting the Scleroderma Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program during the appropriations process for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.

BACKGROUND: Currently, there is a $5 million Scleroderma Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense for continued research into scleroderma. There is a strong connection between environmental exposures and the onset of autoimmune diseases, which leaves military personnel at risk for developing conditions like scleroderma. Further, scleroderma impacts military personnel because the scarring associated with the disease process has broad applications to combat injuries. We ask that Congress continue to support Scleroderma Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense.

Senators are currently working on the final FY 2022 Dept. of Defense appropriations bill and deciding what final funding levels will be. At this critical juncture, please reach out to the Washington, DC offices of your Senators and ask that they “support funding for the Scleroderma Peer-Reviewed Research Program at $5 million in the final DoD FY 2022 bill.”

ACTION: Enter your contact information in the fields below to send a message to both of your Senators asking them to support funding for the Scleroderma Peer-Reviewed Research Program.

  • Use the space provided to share 1-2 brief paragraphs why scleroderma research is important to you.
  • We need to act quickly, so please send your email by November 24, 2021.
  • Want to take an extra step? Call your Senators’ offices and leave a brief message asking them “to support funding the Scleroderma Research Program for fiscal year 2022.” Be sure to include your name and where you live. Click here to find your Senators’ phone numbers.

Recipients

  • Your Senators

Contact

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If you take action and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from Scleroderma Foundation.

Message

Dear [Decision Maker],

Thank you for your leadership on patient care and public health issues. I write you today on behalf of the community of individuals affected by scleroderma to ask that you work with your colleagues to ensure that the Scleroderma Peer-Reviewed Research Program is again funded at $5 million as part of the final Defense Appropriations bill.



Scleroderma is a chronic connective tissue auto-immune disease affecting approximately 300,000 Americans. The word scleroderma means hardening of the skin, which is one of the most visible manifestations of the disease. With an autoimmune disease, the body attacks its own tissues. In the case of scleroderma, the body produces too much collagen, which leads to scarring and fibrosis of the skin and often internal organs.

Scleroderma may cause serious damage to internal organs such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus, and gastrointestinal tract. Serious complications of the disease can include pain, skin ulcers, anemia, and pulmonary hypertension. The cause of this progressive and potentially fatal disease remains unknown. There is no cure, and treatment options are limited. Symptoms vary greatly and are dependent on which organ systems are impacted.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment by a qualified physician may improve health outcomes and lessen the chance for irreversible damage. Research on the underlying mechanisms of scleroderma is showing relevance to all fibrosis, which occurs at higher rates among individuals who serve in the military and our veterans. Further, military service-associated environmental triggers, particularly silica, solvent, and radiation exposure are believed to be linked to the onset of scleroderma in individuals who are genetically predisposed to the condition.

I hope you will work with your colleagues in support of the Scleroderma Peer-Reviewed Research Program in the Committee Report accompanying the Senate's FY2022 bill. On behalf of scleroderma affected constituents, thank you for your time and your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]