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Scleroderma Foundation Announces New Heartland Chapter – Press Releases

September 28, 2012 No Comments »

Support for People in Nebraska, Iowa and Eastern South Dakota

DANVERS, Mass., Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The Scleroderma Foundation announced today that it has chartered a new chapter to help people living with scleroderma in the states of Iowa, Nebraska and eastern South Dakota. This means more support for individuals with the debilitating autoimmune illness in the central United States.

The Scleroderma Foundation, Heartland Chapter is the Foundation's 24th chapter. It will be headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa. The Chapter will provide scleroderma patients and their families with support and educational resources, while raising funds to support Chapter initiatives and research to find the cause and cure of the autoimmune disease.

“This new chapter will provide a place of support for our scleroderma brothers and sisters,” said Heartland Chapter Executive Director Barb Heenan. “We now will offer a place for scleroderma education, information and awareness that is in their hometown instead of thousands of miles away.” Over the past decade, Heenan and other supporters in the area have raised more than $300,000 for the Scleroderma Foundation through local events.

The Chapter's Board of Directors are: Deb Houghton, Omaha, Neb.; David Houghton, Omaha; Brittany Bowdish, Lincoln, Neb.; Kate Bowdish, Lincoln; Dana Schmillen, Omaha; Summer Goodman-Sargent, Omaha; Patrick Sargent, Omaha; Paige Scholer, Omaha; Jill Heiserman, Papillion, Neb.; Ron Deyo, Omaha; Pat Fila, Omaha; and Jennifer Coffey, Carlisle, Iowa.

According to the Foundation's database records, there are more than 3,000 individuals living in Iowa, Nebraska and eastern South Dakota, which will be served by the new Heartland Chapter. The Chapter has two established support groups, which help people in Omaha and Des Moines. Heenan said the Chapter anticipates forming additional support groups in South Dakota and eastern Iowa, hosting a fundraising walk in Des Moines, as well as coordinating educational events with the local medical community.

The Chapter's website will be available Tuesday, Oct. 9. For more information or to join the Scleroderma Foundation's Heartland Chapter, contact Barb Heenan at (515) 661-8089 or

About Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own body.

Scleroderma means “hard skin.” It can cause a thickening and tightening of the skin. In some cases, it causes serious damage to internal organs including the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. As scarring, or sclerosis, of these organs and organ systems progress, they work less effectively, and can lead to organ failure and death.

Some medications and treatments can help with certain symptoms, but there is no cure for scleroderma. The disease affects about 300,000 people across the U.S. In comparison, approximately the same number of people are affected by multiple sclerosis.

About the Scleroderma Foundation

The Scleroderma Foundation is the national organization for people with scleroderma, their families and friends. It was formed Jan. 1, 1998, by a merger between the United Scleroderma Foundation and the Scleroderma Federation.

The Scleroderma Foundation is headquartered in the metro Boston area in Danvers, Mass. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving the interests of people living with scleroderma. The Foundation has a network of 24 chapters and more than 150 support groups committed to carrying out the three-fold mission of support, education and research. The Scleroderma Foundation makes available at least $1 million per year in new research grants to find the cause, better treatments, and a cure for scleroderma.

For more information about the Scleroderma Foundation, visit or call (800) 722-HOPE (4673). You also can find the Foundation on Facebook ( and Twitter (@scleroderma).

SOURCE Scleroderma Foundation

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