Contact:  Maureen Neville, Communications Director

Resident of Hilliard with Rare Skin Disease Awarded UFIRST Scholarship


COLMAR, PA (October 30, 2014)Maria Gad of Hilliard received a 2014 UFIRST Scholarship – an award granted by the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types (FIRST). She is affected with ARCI-lamellar ichthyosis – a rare, genetic skin disorder characterized by dry, cracked, scaling, and thickened skin.

When asked about her goals and aspirations Maria replied, “I aspire to spend every day of my life helping others.  My career goal is to become a pediatric dermatologist that can help others with rare skin diseases and encourage them to persevere.”

The UFIRST Scholarship Program provides the opportunity for students affected with ichthyosis to achieve their highest educational potential,” said Jean Pickford, Executive Director of FIRST.  “Maria is attending Ohio State University and we are thrilled to support her as she continues with her degree.”

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.

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.  Approximately 300 babies each year are born with a moderate to severe form of 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


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