Tommy Visits NFL Teams to Raise Awareness About Ichthyosis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       

Contact: 
Lisa Breuning
215.997.9400
lbreuning@firstskinfoundation.org

‘TOMMY, THE NFL’S BIGGEST LITTLE FAN’ VISITS NFL TEAMS TO HELP RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT ICHTHYOSIS
Nationwide Tour Inspired by 3 Year Old Dane Phelps 

COLMAR, PA (January 4, 2013) – As we approach this year’s Big Game in New Orleans, there will be one important fan watching from the sidelines.  Tommy, a small doll, dubbed the NFL’s Biggest Little Fan, has been traveling all season long to NFL teams across the country to help raise awareness about ichthyosis, a group of genetic skin disorders characterized by dry, cracked, scaling skin.

Tommy’s nationwide tour was inspired by Dane Phelps, who passed away in 2008 when he was just three years old from complications related to his ichthyosis. In an effort to broaden awareness about the disease, Dane’s parents Suzanne and Eric, along with the help of FIRST, launched a nationwide tour this past November with a goal to visit each NFL team, educate and gain each team’s support, as well as obtain an official team jersey or other donation.  After all 32 team donations are received, they will be auctioned off at the Dane’s Friends for FIRST 2013 event, to be held in September, where all proceeds will benefit FIRST.

“There is no known cure for ichthyosis, only treatments,” said Jean Pickford, Executive Director of FIRST.  “It is our hope that with the funds raised from this event, we can continue to conduct more extensive research and provide services to the members of FIRST taking us one step closer to finding a cure and better management of the disorder.  We can’t thank the Phelps enough for their efforts and support.”

According to FIRST, each year, more than 16,000 babies are born with some form of ichthyosis, of those, approximately 300 are born with a moderate to severe form.  This disease affects people of all ages, races and gender. The disease usually presents at birth, or within the first year, and continues to affect the patient throughout their lifetime.

About the Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types, Inc.®
The Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types, Inc.® (FIRST) is the only nonprofit foundation in the United States dedicated to families affected by the rare skin disorder ichthyosis.  FIRST educates, inspires, and connects those touched by ichthyosis and related disorders through emotional support, information, advocacy and has supported more than $1.4 million in research funding for better treatments and eventual cures.  For more information, call toll-free at 1.800.545.3286 or visit www.firstskinfoundation.org.

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