Too Sick to Dream?: Foundation Gives Children a Chance to Reach for Their Dreams

Jan 19, 2011, 11:00 ET from Jeffrey Modell Foundation

NEW YORK, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Millions of children are too sick to dream!  They have Primary Immunodeficiency or PI... a defect of the immune system that causes a child to be sick over and over again.  Trips to the doctor, weeks in bed, and missed play dates.  In fact, missed everything, including their dreams.

Vicki and Fred Modell established the Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) 25 years ago in memory of their son who died of complications from a Primary Immunodeficiency disease.  The Foundation is dedicated to Research, Physician Education, Patient Support, Public Awareness and Advocacy.

PI often presents itself as ordinary childhood illnesses, such as sinus and ear infections, pneumonias and high fevers.  Many physicians treat each ailment without addressing the underlying cause.  There are more than 150 PI diseases ranging in severity from chronic sinusitis to Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID) or "Bubble Boy Disease".

According to Alan E. Guttmacher, MD, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a component of the National Institutes of Health, (NIH)  "There are as many as 500,000 cases of PI in the United States, and a significant number of cases are not diagnosed or treated until individuals become chronically debilitated.  We need to identify the specific defect in those patients with PI as soon as possible, and refer at-risk patients to specialized Centers for effective treatment.  Increased awareness of PI can mitigate those serious illnesses."

The disorder is more prevalent than childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma combined and four times the incidence of Cystic Fibrosis.   To address early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, JMF, with the support of Congress, NIH, and CDC created the first ever Public Service Advertising Campaign on PI.  The ads have been prominently featured on TV, radio, magazines, Web, airports, and shopping malls.  An all new Campaign, "When I Grow Up", will launch in the coming weeks.

Vicki Modell, Co-Founder of JMF described the new Campaign as "one that speaks to the wonderment of a child's dream; a dream of a future without hospital visits, sleepless nights, and without fever.  It encourages a child to be whatever they want to be…playing baseball, fighting fires, becoming a chef, and even a glittery rock star.  These children now have a chance - a chance to thrive, to imagine and to be lifted to their highest potential…the empowerment of a child's dream".

The Foundation has established a Network of 460 expert Immunologists throughout the United States and in 58 Countries, spanning 6 Continents.  The Jeffrey Modell Centers Network is dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, appropriate treatments, cures, and especially dreams…

More about the Jeffrey Modell Foundation is available at

Media Contacts:


Fred Modell, Jeffrey Modell Foundation, (212) 819-0200


Vicki Modell, Jeffrey Modell Foundation, (212) 819-0200



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SOURCE Jeffrey Modell Foundation