APF Pet Calendar Contest Underway to Support Expert Porphyria Care

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

Share this article:

Share article via email
pet calendar contest

Voting is underway for the 2021 Pet Calendar Contest organized by the American Porphyria Foundation (APF).

Through Oct. 30, people can vote for their favorite pets, with each vote requiring a $2 donation. Information about the competing pets, as well as links to make vote and add an extra donation, is available here.

“Our second APF Pet Calendar has nearly 70 participants! Voting is going strong with many adorable animals vying for the top calendar slots,” Kristen Wheeden, executive director of the APF, told Porphyria News in an email response.

The pet calendar contest was started by APF member and dog-lover Nicole Castellano in 2019. Pet owners enter photos of their furry companions during the first half of October — including humorous anecdotes and stories about how their pets help them to cope in living with porphyria.

This year’s winners will be announced on Nov. 1, and calendars will be ready for sale and shipping through the APF’s online store on Nov. 15.

Proceeds raised from the contest will benefit the APF’s Protect the Future program.

“What starts as fun community engagement event highlighting our beloved pets and the myriad ways they provide comfort to us in times of need culminates in a beautiful calendar chock full of photos and important information about porphyria — all while supporting our critical Protect the Future initiative,” Wheeden said.

Protect the Future was started over 10 years ago, with the aim of addressing a lack of knowledge about porphyria among researchers and clinicians. Now a goal is to keep and advance the knowledge gained, by pairing young professionals with an expert specialist who will mentor them for three to five years, creating a new generation of experts.

Mentors are members of the Porphyria Research Consortium, which includes six of the country’s leading porphyria centers.

These specialists have led porphyria research, testing, and treatment for some 30 years, the group noted, and more than 90% of them will be leaving the field in the years ahead.

“We cannot risk losing the opportunity to transfer their vast experience to young investigators and physicians. Funding the next generation of experts is critical to maintain momentum toward more effective treatments and someday a cure,” Wheeden said. “We need to be relentless on this mission.”

Protect the Future also aims to train primary care and specialist physicians, and involve doctors who go through the program in disease research and the scientific publications and presentations that come from it.

“The program has trained dozens of physicians on the porphryias and has resulted in eight satellite porphyria centers across the US in addition to Principal Investigators [running clinical trials] at multiple porphyria center locations,” Wheeden wrote.