On February 17, 2023, thousands of transplant recipients and their loved ones will band together to raise awareness about graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) – a difficult complication that affects roughly half of patients who undergo a transplant using stem cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant).
GVHD can be mild, moderate or severe. It can affect the skin, eyes, mouth, nails, sweat glands, joints, muscles, GI tract, liver, lungs, genitals and sometimes nerves.
It can affect appearance. It can be painful. It can interfere with many activities of daily living like eating, dressing, walking, vision, even breathing.
It’s a stressful disease that can last a few months or many years, sometimes disappearing only to reappear again later. In its most severe form, GVHD can be life-threatening.
The first National GVHD Awareness Day on February 17th will help raise awareness about the need for more research to prevent and treat this difficult complication. It will also highlight the need to better support the 15,000+ people whose daily life and happiness is currently affected by GVHD: physically, emotionally and financially.
Let’s join together to highlight the need for more GVHD research and patient support, so that those who conquered a deadly disease by undergoing a transplant can enjoy their second chance of life, free of GVHD.