On May 11, race car driver Kyle Marcelli will be honored for his advocacy work with the Champion Award from the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). At the organization’s yearly spring benefit, hosted at the Detroit Athletic Club and aptly themed “Bound by a Common Thread,” attendees will celebrate Marcelli’s success as an ambassador for autoimmune disease research and awareness, including his key contributions to the unprecedented collaboration of AARDA, Allegheny Health Network Autoimmunity Institute, Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness and Support Foundation (RPASF), and Race for Relapsing Polychondritis (RP).
Marcelli competes in two motorsports divisions and has finished on the podium over 80 times, making him the ideal partner for Race for RP – an awareness campaign associated with RPASF. In 2018, Marcelli paired with another driver, Dominik Baumann, and won the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship at Mid-Ohio, in a historic win for Lexus with the car’s livery including logos of AARDA, Race for RP Relapsing Polychondritis, and the Allegheny Health Network Autoimmunity Institute. “You feel like you’re being a bit of an inspiration,” Marcelli said. “It’s just a small part, but anything we can do is a massive win for everyone.”
To celebrate the 2018 win, Lexus Racing released a limited edition 1/18 scale model of the #14 RC F GT3 Lexus, the car driven by Marcelli and Baumann, complete with autoimmune disease-related livery. The historic win was also the first time these organizations had collaborated, and since then, the partnership has expanded beyond the race track.
After the exciting victory at Mid-Ohio, Dr. Joseph Ahearn, chair of the AHN Autoimmunity Institute, invited Marcelli and Virginia Ladd, Executive Director and Founder of AARDA, to Pittsburgh for the organization’s ribbon cutting ceremony. “Over 50 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease,” said Dr. Ahearn, “and our Autoimmunity Institute, the first of its kind in the world, now offers them unprecedented, multi-specialty care in one location.” To support AHN’s efforts, Ms. Ladd presented Dr. Ahearn with a $300,000 check on behalf of AARDA.
In March, AARDA, RPASF and Race for Relapsing Polychondritis held an AHN Autoimmunity Institute event at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. In September, they will collaborate again at A Symposium Exploring Autoimmune Diseases in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Bachelor of Science (BSN) program at Northern Michigan University School of Nursing.
Currently, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, and their care often requires a team of specialists. In addition, for rare conditions, like relapsing polychondritis (“RP”), which causes the body to attack its own cartilage, no test exists to confirm the diagnosis, meaning patients can go years without the treatment they need. For that reason, collaborations between these organizations is essential for care, research, and awareness, which makes contributions like Marcelli’s invaluable.
Watch Kyle Marcelli in The Drive to Eradicate Autoimmune Disease.
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) is dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases and the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner.
AARDA is the only national nonprofit health agency dedicated to bringing a national focus to autoimmunity, the major cause of serious chronic diseases. Approximately 50 million Americans, 20 percent of the population or one in five people, suffer from autoimmune diseases. Women are more likely than men to be affected; some estimates say that 75 percent of those affected–some 37.5 million people–are women. For more information, visit http://www.aarda.org.
About Kyle Marcelli
Canadian Kyle Marcelli is an established professional racing driver and one of North America’s top rising stars in professional sports car racing. After a successful career in go-karts and single-seaters, Kyle made his professional debut at the pinnacle of sports car racing, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in 2010. Kyle’s auto racing accomplishments include; FF1600 champion, FF2000 3rd, Porsche GT3 Cup champion, American Le Mans Series vice-champion, European Le Mans Series winner, Petit Le Mans 10H winner, Sebring 12H 2nd, Pirelli World Challenge winner, Trans Am Series winner and Thunderhill 25H winner. Kyle represents his passion, sport, sponsors, team and fans proudly and effectively. He’s winning, engaging and always visible. For more information, visit http://www.kylemarcelli.com.
About AHN Autoimmunity Institute
The AHN Autoimmunity Institute is an unprecedented venture focused on advancing the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure of all autoimmune diseases, of which there are more than 100. The Institute’s focus is on improved outcomes, increased patient satisfaction and quality of life, and decreased cost of care, through collaborative multispecialty care, cutting-edge research, advocacy and education in attacking these chronic diseases. For more information, visit http://www.ahn.org/autoimmunity-institute.