Local Fundraising for Pituitary Foundation/Rare Diseases Day February 2014

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PJ’s for Pituitary Awareness!

Katherine Pickersgill from Southport is holding a PJ’s for Pituitary Awareness event through out February 2014 to mark Rare Diseases Day on 28th February, an annual health campaign in February to raise awareness of rare diseases & disorders, one of which being disorders & diseases of the pituitary gland.

Ms Pickersgill will spend the enitre month going about her regular life, but dressed only in pajamas to raise funds for the charity The Pituitary Foundation, aiming to improve the public’s knowledge of the pituitary gland and symptoms of pituitary disorders. Daily life includes not just the weekly shopping and visits to friends, but also trips to hairdressers, doctors appointments, social events in fact wherever one would reasonably go to during an average month – there is even a wedding to attend! (Of which the Bride & Groom are not only aware but also fully supportive!)

She said: “Most people don’t know what the pituitary gland is, or the issues facing people affected by disorders of the pituitary. The support provided by The Pituitary Foundation by way of publications, knowledge, support groups and helplines support not only the patient but their friends and family too, and is a life saver. Literally in my case. The scariest news I ever received was being told I had a pituitary tumour and required immediate neurosurgery. It is estimated that in the UK alone some 70,000 people suffer from a rare pituitary disorder but not only can people not SEE the problem so it is an “invisible” disease which brings its own issues, but many have just plain never heard of it so don’t know how to support someone with that problem. The diagnosis is just the start of the issue rather than the end. I want to help raise awareness of these disorders and their potential life-changing effects so more people will be  aware of the signs that may indicate they could have a problem with their pituitary gland, and be able to help & support those who already know they have problem.”

The pituitary is a gland situated in your brain and regulates many of the hormones in your body.  When something goes wrong with your gland, such as a growth on the gland, this can lead to the gland overproducing or under producing hormones, which can have serious implications to your health, and left untreated even death.

Jay Sheppard, Fundraising & Marketing Officer for the charity explained: “If your gland is not working properly you can develop various symptoms.  For example, people can display symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, weight gain, vision loss, and these symptoms can often develop over a period of time.  One of the main issues for pituitary patients is actually receiving a diagnosis in the first place, we hear of many patients waiting up to five years or more before they are diagnosed. The main reason for this is that the symptoms of a pituitary condition can be general and so the cause of the symptoms in the first instance are often misdiagnosed or linked to more commonplace illnesses or ailments, such as stress, general migraines or being overweight.

Jay continued: “The length of time it takes to get a diagnosis is traumatic and frustrating for patients and we are campaigning to improve diagnosis times by raising awareness of the symptoms to spot.”

It is estimated that there are 70,000 people with pituitary conditions in the UK. There are a range of disorders associated with the pituitary, with different symptoms and often life-long treatments, depending on a patient’s particular condition.  Once diagnosed, patients can face treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy and hormone replacement treatments. Having a pituitary condition can impact greatly on a patient and their family’s quality of life and totally change their lives.

For more information about the PJ’s for Pituitary Awareness Event please contact Katherine Pickersgill at

www.justgiving.com/kaffpix. To find out more about The Pituitary Foundation and the symptoms associated with pituitary conditions visit www.pituitary.org.uk or telephone the charity’s Helpline on 0845 450 0375.

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