NORD Opens COVID-19 Financial Aid Program for Rare Disease Community

NORD Opens COVID-19 Financial Aid Program for Rare Disease Community
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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has opened a financial assistance program for people in rare disease community who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

Called the NORD COVID-19 Critical Relief Program, the effort will provide up to $1,000 annually to those eligible to support critical, non-medical needs. The program is designed to help rare disease patients and their families who may be facing monetary hardships due to the outbreak.

“Providing financial assistance to help meet the unique needs of the rare disease community has been central to our mission for over 37 years,” said Jill Pollander, NORD’s director of patient services, in a press release. “The NORD COVID-19 Critical Relief Program enables us to provide desperately needed support to rare disease community members whose lives have been directly impacted by the current pandemic.”

The funds are exclusively for living expenses such as utility bills, cellular or internet service, car repairs, and rent and mortgage.

Individuals must be U.S. citizens, have permanent residency status in the country, or be a U.S. resident for at least six months, Laura Mullen, NORD’s associate director of communications and public relations, told BioNews Services — the parent company of this website — in an email statement. Applicants must be willing to provide proof of residency, such as a utility bill in their name.

Applicants must have income at or below four times the federal poverty level, or be experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Examples of such difficulties include job loss, inability to work due to local stay-at-home orders, and school closures.

The program will provide funds for this year, and then will be reassessed annually, Mullen said. Donations to broaden those receiving help are being accepted.

For further questions about eligibility and how to apply, call NORD at 203-242-0497, or send an email to [email protected] More information is also available on the NORD website.

The program is funded by corporate sponsors that include Genentech, as well as by grants and individual donations.

In general, rare disease patients with COVID-19 are at higher risk of serious illness. COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The World Health Organization characterized the outbreak as a pandemic on March 11.

A nonprofit, NORD supports people with rare diseases through advocacy, research funding, education, and networking with service providers. Since 1987, the organization has provided assistance programs to help patients with medications, insurance premiums, respite care, and travel to clinical trials or specialist consultations.

For information and links relevant to the rare community during the pandemic, please visit NORD’s COVID-19 Resource Center.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Ana holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Lisbon and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) in Lisbon, Portugal. She graduated with a BSc in Genetics from the University of Newcastle and received a Masters in Biomolecular Archaeology from the University of Manchester, England. After leaving the lab to pursue a career in Science Communication, she served as the Director of Science Communication at iMM.

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José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has also studied Biochemistry at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. His work has ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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