NEW YORK, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 25 years ago, Vicki and Fred Modell established the Jeffrey Modell Foundation, in memory of their son Jeffrey, who lost his battle with Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) at the age of 15. The Foundation (JMF) is a global organization dedicated to Research, Physician Education, Patient Support, Public Awareness, Advocacy, and Newborn Screening. There are 194 Jeffrey Modell Centers around the world.
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Despite the fact that PI affects 10 million people worldwide, most are not aware of their disorder, and suffer with chronic, recurring, and sometimes debilitating infections. Today JMF, representing the U.S., is joining with physician experts and patient groups from 20 Countries to launch a World PI Week, April 22 – 29. Participants include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cypress, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and more. The Campaign focuses on early diagnosis and access to appropriate treatment, through public awareness and physician education. The week will stimulate efforts and initiatives to improve recognition and quality of life for people with PI worldwide.
One of the highlights of Awareness Week, is a presentation of a highly acclaimed feature film about a four month old baby born without an immune system. The award winning documentary is a riveting drama that tells the story of Mohammed Abu Mustafa from Palestine, who is born with Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID). He will die before his first birthday without a bone marrow transplant. His family, from Gaza, has only one choice for his survival. He needs to receive the transplant in an Israeli Hospital.
The film, called "Precious Life," tells a complex and emotional story as Israeli and Palestinian doctors put aside their differences to save the child. Dr. Raz Somech, and his team at Tel Hashomer Hospital, a Jeffrey Modell Center in Tel Aviv, cured Mohammed!
Dr. Somech will make his first ever visit to Germany during World PI Week. The film will be shown at a symposium in Munich organized by world renowned Immunologist, Dr. Christoph Klein, Professor of Pediatrics at Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, which is also a Jeffrey Modell Center. After a special showing of "Precious Life," Dr. Somech and Dr. Klein will lead a discussion of the film with more than 500 invited guests including government officials, economists, physicians, patients, and affected families.
"This is a film about hope, the universal desire to protect all of our children and improve their quality of life. The film has won acclaim for its raw depiction of courage, and the fight for the safety of one family," said Vicki Modell, co-founder of the Jeffrey Modell Foundation. She added, "We need to be sure that each child and adult has the best chance of being diagnosed early, and effectively treated. Awareness is critical, and World PI Week is an excellent opportunity to drive this global movement to educate the medical community and the public about Primary Immunodeficiencies. It is a stunning achievement to observe physicians from Israel, Gaza, Germany and so many other countries gathered together to benefit our children regardless of religion or politics. We are very hopeful."
About Jeffrey Modell Foundation
Vicki and Fred Modell established the Jeffrey Modell Foundation in 1987, in memory of their son Jeffrey, who died at the age of fifteen from complications of Primary Immunodeficiency – a genetic condition that is chronic, serious, and often fatal. JMF is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to early diagnosis, meaningful treatments and, ultimately, cures through research, physician education, public awareness, advocacy, patient support, and Newborn Screening.
Vicki Modell, Jeffrey Modell Foundation, (212) 819-0200
Fred Modell, Jeffrey Modell Foundation, (212) 819-0200
SOURCE Jeffrey Modell Foundation