Contact:  Maureen Neville, Communications Director

Resident of Penryn with Rare Skin Disease Awarded UFIRST Scholarship

Penryn, CA (October 30, 2014)Gina Messer, of Penryn, California received a 2014 UFIRST Scholarship, the second year that she has received this scholarship.  UFIRST is an award granted by the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types (FIRST). Gina is affected with ARCI-lamellar type ichthyosis – a rare, genetic skin disorder characterized by dry, cracked, scaling, and thickened skin.

When asked about her goals and aspirations Gina replied, “I would like to go to grad school so I can earn my PsyD, then go on to become a licensed psychologist.  My goal in life is to help others and to live life to the fullest.”

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.  “Gina is attending UC Davis 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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