Israeli Familial Dysautonomia Organization

Comprehensive Support Program 2024

Our main project

(In addition to promoting research and ensuring the existence of the only existing medical center in Israel for FD patients)

Regarding the initiative to offer FD patients and their family members a Comprehensive Support Program, an Israeli hospital director stated: “With this disease, supporting the patients and families is a dramatic, life-saving need.”

What is Familial Dysautonomia and Who is FDI

Familial Dysautonomia (FD) is a rare genetic disorder – it is chronic-progressive, life-threatening, and incurable. FD damages the nervous system and impairs the regulation of vital bodily functions. People diagnosed with FD suffer chronic speech, vision, balance, digestive, and respiratory difficulties that worsen over time. Most difficult are acute FD attacks – indescribable misery that can last anywhere from several hours to several months; these can be so severe that a medically-induced coma is often the only care option. Despite these challenges, people diagnosed with FD and their family members make every effort to live lives filled with meaning and value.

Because it is so rare, FD is considered an “orphan disease”; it is not “economically viable” for the medical and pharmaceutical industries to invest resources in researching and creating tailored treatments or medications. For the 100 Israeli families contending with this disease at present, FD is a constant threat – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Between the physical challenges and pain, the near-constant need for vigilance and care, and the ever-present danger of death – it is a daily struggle for FD patients and their family members to lead as normal a life as possible. It is this dramatic insight, of seeking to live a full life, that led FD contenders and their loved ones to establish FDI.

Familial Dysautonomia Israel (FDI) was established in 1983 to serve as a supportive “home” for FD patients and their family members. FDI works to advance medical research and treatment, and advocates for the welfare and rights of FD patients and their families. FDI also leads public awareness campaigns to prevent and eliminate FD through genetic screening and testing. FDI operates support programs customized by age, place of residence, religious affiliation, and gender. FDI is operated by members and a governing board comprised of FD patients and their family members. The FDI team is rounded out by three external volunteer advisors and one full-time paid program director. With philanthropic investment, FDI aspires to maintain existing programs and expand the services we can then offer our members beyond what is currently possible from modest government funding, donations, and annual membership fees.

The FDI Support System

FDI recently formalized the support services we have developed over the years into a “Support Program”. A structured and comprehensive set of services personalized for each FD patient and family. It includes:

- Professional Staff: professional counsellors and a social worker for individual guidance, assistance, and representation in dealing with government institutions.

- Operating support groups for FD patients and family members – topics include: parenting, overcoming daily challenges, forming healthy social and romantic relationships, coping with the loss of friends, and long-term planning.

- Relaxation and Recreation Activities for FD patients and family members: enrichment workshops, day-trips, and vacations.

- Integration into Israeli Society: advancing life skills, cultivating opportunities for employment, and independence.

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this proposal. If you have any questions, please contact:

Amichai Grinwald, Executive Director FDIPartnerships@GMail.com +972_54_570_1415

We will be happy to meet you, we will be happy to cooperate.

What is Familial Dysautonomia?

Familial Dysautonomia is an inherited incurable genetic disease. It affects Jews in general and Ashkenazi Jews specifically at a ratio of 1:30 (For every thirty Jews, one is a carrier of the disease.) The disease affects the autonomic nervous system, the motor system and the sensory system as well. More...

Education with a Smile 
Familial Dysautonomia doesn't necessarily affect the cognitive abilities of the patients. Therefore, most of the students choose to be part of the regular school system. Unfortunately, as a result of complications and frequent hospitalizations, students are absent from school more than the average student. Missing a lot of school has a personal emotional cost as well as an educational one. More...

"The independence Road" Project
With medical developments, new research and increased knowledge of the disease, the life span of t FD patients has lengthened significantly. This welcome development has brought with it the necessity to deal with new and different issues. The struggles with the complicated daily care regime, frequent hospitalizations, para-medical treatments and difficult physical challenges create emotional and physical stress for the patients and their families. More...

Social Services and Support groups
The Familial Dysautonomia (FD) Foundation works to support the well-being and the improvement of  the quality of life of its 112 patients and their families. Familial Dysautonomia is an inherited incurable genetic disease which becomes progressively worse as the patients grow older.  More...

The "Special Needs" Foundation
The "Special Needs" Foundation is run by an external and independent committee comprised of the Chairman Menachem Tulsinski (a lawyer), Mrs Shlomit Liraz (a mother who lost two children to FD) and Mr. Tovia Eldan (former financial attaché to Korea).  More...

For Donations: Click here...