59 Years for Cooley's Anemia Foundation: Launches "Council of Heroes"

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The Foundation, the only national non-profit dedicated solely to the genetic blood disorder thalassemia, is working to perfect stem cell and gene therapy as a potential cure to the disorder.

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Marking its 59th year as the only national non-profit dedicated to a deadly genetic blood disorder, The Cooley's Anemia Foundation today announced the launching of its “Council of Heroes.”

“This new campaign will allow us to move to a new level of activity and enable us to more aggressively pursue our goal of minimizing complications and lengthening the lives of those with thalassemia,” said Anthony J. Viola, National President of the Cooley's Anemia Foundation.

The Foundation, the only national non-profit dedicated solely to the genetic blood disorder thalassemia, is working to perfect stem cell and gene therapy as a potential cure to the disorder.

"We believe that every great cause and goal calls forth the heroes it requires," Viola said. “While we are eternally grateful for the ongoing support we receive from many donors, our patients need us to reach greater heights in fundraising if we are to perfect a cure for this disorder.”

Children born with a severe form of thalassemia (also called Cooley's anemia) must undergo bi-weekly blood transfusions, daily drug treatments and the ever-present knowledge that, absent a cure, their lives will be curtailed far too early.

After many years of research, scientists have begun the first human gene therapy trials as a potential cure for thalassemia. Early evidence suggests this therapy holds great promise but only if the Foundation has the significant resources to continually advance the research.

The Council of Heroes campaign is designed to significantly expand the Foundation's impact on the future health of thalassemia patients.

"We cannot do this alone," Viola said. "In the weeks ahead, we will reach out for help from exceptional men and women who have vision, experience, willpower and ability to make a difference in our ongoing battle against this disease."

The Foundation's announcement of the Council of Heroes campaign on September 20 has symbolic power: the date marks the 59th anniversary of the founding of the Cooley's Anemia Foundation and launches the one-year countdown to the Foundation's landmark 60th anniversary in 2014.

"The Council of Heroes will be on the front line in helping secure the resources the Foundation desperately needs to secure a cure," Viola says. "These generous individuals will make a bold commitment toward improving patient lives of all those affected by thalassemia."

For more information about the Council of Heroes, or to learn more about thalassemia and the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, contact g(dot)cioffi(at)thalassemia(dot)org or visit http://www.thalassemia.org.

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