-- All-Star Ambassador Team Welcomes Mother of NBA Star Kevin Durant to Educate on the Importance of Listening to Your Eyes --
To commemorate Graves’ Disease Awareness Month this July, Horizon Therapeutics plc (Nasdaq: HZNP) is teaming up with all-star patient advocates, Wanda Durant and Gail Devers, to help others living with Graves’ disease know their risk for a separate, but related, condition called Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). TED is a serious, progressive, and potentially vision-threatening rare autoimmune disease.1
In her second year partnering with Horizon, three-time Olympic gold medalist, Gail Devers, who has been living with Graves’ disease and TED for more than thirty years, is expanding her “relay team” of advocates to continue raising awareness of the two conditions. Wanda Durant – mother of National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player (MVP) and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Kevin Durant – has accepted the baton, having lived with Graves’ disease herself for 17 years. “Mama Durant” or “The Real MVP,” as she is affectionately known, is encouraging a greater focus on TED education and symptom monitoring.
“In all my time living with Graves’ disease, I never knew that I was at risk of TED until hearing Gail’s story,” said Durant. “Together, we are on a mission to make sure everyone living with Graves’ disease knows the symptoms of TED so they can keep a close watch on their eyes and seek the right care if needed.”
Approximately 50 percent of people living with Graves’ disease may develop TED, which causes symptoms such as eye bulging, double vision and debilitating pain behind the eyes.2,3 Although TED is related to Graves’ disease, it requires specialized treatment from a TED Eye Specialist, such as an oculoplastic surgeon or neuro-ophthalmologist. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of TED early is important, as it can help decrease the chances of serious damage to vision and appearance of the eyes.4
“I am thrilled and honored to have Mama Durant join my relay team, passing the baton of knowledge to help more people overcome the same challenges we’ve been through and become their own best advocate,” said Devers. “By working together, we can ensure more people know the risks and symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease and feel empowered to seek care earlier.”
As part of Graves’ Disease Awareness Month, Horizon is also activating:
New Listen to Your Eyes podcast episodes – featuring Durant, Devers and others living with TED, their caregivers and TED experts
Educational videos – raising awareness of the signs, symptoms and risks associated with TED, as well as the need to seek care from a TED eye specialist and the physical and emotional impact of this condition on daily life
An Eyes on TED social campaign – encourage viewing and sharing of an informational video about the link between Graves’ disease and TED. Video includes commentary from Gail Devers and a TED Eye Specialist
The Race to Diagnosis online campaign – challenging people to “be faster than Gail” as they learn about Graves’ disease and TED, associated risk factors, TED symptoms, and how to find a TED eye specialist. In recognition of Gail winning her first Olympic gold medal in 10.94 seconds, “Race to Diagnosis” challenges people to “beat Gail’s time” by seeking a TED diagnosis within 10 weeks
- The “Dear TED” letter writing campaign, which invites people living with or caring for someone with TED to write directly to TED about the impact it has had on their lives and how they are taking back control of their health. Letters can be submitted at www.DearTEDLetters.com
About Gail Devers
Gail Devers is a world-renowned track star and three-time Olympic gold medalist who has been living with Graves’ disease and symptoms of TED for more than 30 years. After a harrowing two-and-a-half-year quest for answers, she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 1990, just two years before winning her first Olympic gold medal. Her journey back to the track was nothing short of remarkable as she suffered near career-ending symptoms, including extreme weight loss, fatigue, and insomnia. She also had symptoms of TED including eye pain, dryness, irritation and bulging eyes. In her decorated 25-year track career that followed, Gail has been recognized as a five-time Olympian, back-to-back 100m Olympic champion, three-time 100m hurdles world champion, and inductee of both the National Track and Field and the United States Olympic Halls of Fame.
About Wanda Durant
Wanda Durant, affectionately known as “Mama Durant” and “The Real MVP,” is a leader, entrepreneur, philanthropist and patient advocate, who has been living with Graves’ disease for 17 years. She is a mother of two sons: NBA Champion and MVP player, Kevin Durant, and businessman Anthony (Tony) Durant. As president and CEO of motivation platform “Hope, Dream, Believe, Achieve” (HDBA, LLC) Wanda shares her blueprint for parenting that she used to help her children become successful adults. One of her mantras is “where there is hope, there are possibilities.” Her passion is to inspire underserved children, single mothers, families, and communities to move beyond their immediate circumstances and to aim for higher heights in life.
About Graves’ Disease
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid gland to produce excess thyroid hormones.3 These hormones control a variety of bodily functions, from metabolism and breathing, to heart rate, body temperature and cognitive emotions.5 Common symptoms of Graves’ disease include anxiety, tremors, heat sensitivity, weight loss, hair loss, change in menstrual cycle and irregular heartbeat, many of which are present in other diseases, leading to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.6
About Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)
TED is a serious, progressive and potentially vision-threatening rare autoimmune disease.1 TED causes the muscle and fat tissue behind one or both eyes to become inflamed or swollen. While TED often occurs in people living with hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease (up to 50% of people living with Graves’ disease – the most common form of hyperthyroidism – may develop TED), it is a distinct disease that is caused by autoantibodies activating an IGF-1R-mediated signaling complex on cells within the retro-orbital space. 2,3,7,8,9 This leads to a cascade of negative effects, which may cause long-term damage to the eyes. Resulting symptoms include debilitating pain, dry, gritty, watery, or teary eyes, and light sensitivity, among others. 2,3 As TED progresses, the serious damage it can cause includes proptosis (eye bulging), strabismus (misalignment of the eyes) and diplopia (double vision) – and in some cases, can lead to blindness.10,11 Additional information on TED can be found at ThyroidEyes.com.
Horizon is a global biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of medicines that address critical needs for people impacted by rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases. Our pipeline is purposeful: We apply scientific expertise and courage to bring clinically meaningful therapies to patients. We believe science and compassion must work together to transform lives. For more information on how we go to incredible lengths to impact lives, visit www.horizontherapeutics.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
- Barrio-Barrio, J, Sabater AL, Bonet-Farriol E, Velazquez-Villoria A, Galofre JC. Graves’ Ophthalmopathy: VISA versus EUGOGO Classification, Assessment, and Management. Journal of Ophthalmology. 2015:2015:249125.
- Lazarus JH. Epidemiology of Graves’ orbitopathy (GO) and relationship with thyroid disease. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;26(3):273-279.
- Smith TJ, Hegedüs L. Graves’ disease. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(16):1552-1565.
- Bothun ED, Scheurer RA, Harrison AR, Lee MS. Update on thyroid eye disease and management. Clin Ophthalmol. 2009;3:543-51.
- Barrio-Barrio J, Sabater AL, Bonet-Farriol E, Velazquez-Villoria A, Galofre JC. Graves’ Ophthalmopathy: VISA versus EUGOGO Classification, Assessment, and Management. Journal of Ophthalmology. 2015:1-16.
- About Graves’ Disease. Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation. https://www.gdatf.org/about/about-graves-disease/. Accessed June 17, 2020.
- Eckstein AK, Losch C, Glowacka D, et al. Euthyroid and primarily hypothyroid patients develop milder and significantly more asymmetrical Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Br J Ophthalmol. 2009;93(8):1052-1056.
- Weightman DR, et al. Autoantibodies to IGF-1 Binding Sites in Thyroid Associated Ophthalmopathy. Autoimmunity. 1993;16(4):251-257.
- Pritchard J, et al. Immunoglobulin Activation of T Cell Chemoattractant Expression in Fibroblasts from Patients with Graves’ Disease Is Mediated Through the Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Receptor Pathway. J Immunol. 2003;170:6348-6354.
- Bartalena L, et al. The 2016 European Thyroid Association/European Group on Graves' Orbitopathy Guidelines for the Management of Graves' Orbitopathy. Eur Thyroid J. 2016;5(1):9-26.
- McKeag D, et al. Clinical Features of Dysthyroid Optic Neuropathy: a European Group on Graves' Orbitopathy (EUGOGO) survey. Br J Ophthalmol. 2007;91:455-458.