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“When I went to the NIH and I saw the things that they have the ability to do, the research that they’re doing now – that wasn’t there 10 years ago.”

Like many relapsing polychondritis (RP) patients, Patty had a long road toward diagnosis. She experienced symptoms for years before she was finally referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist who knew about RP.

Patty felt overwhelmed when she received her RP diagnosis. She went to Google for answers and was scared by what she read. She worried she’d end up with a breathing tube, feeding tube, or worse – she’d die.

Patty’s journey with RP hasn’t been easy, and the disease has impacted every area of her life.

Fortunately, a recent trip to the National Institutes of Health gave her hope. While there, Patty learned about the research they’re doing to better understand RP and find effective treatments.

Watch her story below.