Extraordinary People: Professor spreads awareness about an autoimmune disease

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - There are many diseases that leave patients and their caregivers feeling helpless. The autoimmune disease called scleroderma is one of them. 

Ginny Orzel, filmmaker and associate professor at The College at Brockport, is doing everything she can to help them.

Orzel wanted to convey a message in her latest project about scleroderma, a disease that she lost her own aunt to: "It's okay. You're not alone. Others are dealing with it, too."

"I wanted to intermix the patients, because those are really the telling stories, not the medical which is just matter of fact. But what are these struggles? What are the things the doctors aren't seeing?" said Orzel.

"We want them to know, through this documentary, that all is not lost," said Marilyn Sibley, a Greater Rochester Scleroderma Support Leader. "You are given an opportunity every day to get up, you just might have to get up a little slower."

Many patients are misdiagnosed because there are still so many unknowns about the chronic autoimmune disease. Orzel vowed to give a voice to the voiceless and the documentary has quickly taken off. 

"People from Florida, from the scleroderma support group in Florida, heard about it, no they wanted copies and they're sharing it and it's just going like wildfire, because I don't think there's anything like it," said Orzel.

The hope Orzel gave patients, prompted people she worked with to nominate her for a national award, an award she won.

"When I got the letters I had to read them a couple of times," said Orzel. "Some of the language in it is just phenomenal. It was really touching and it king of brought tears to my eyes."

"There are a lot of unsung heroes out there and Ginny is our hero," said Sibley.

Orzel will receive the Messenger of Hope Award from the Scleroderma Foundation on Oct. 14 during the Patient Education Forum in Rochester. 

She says the real award is knowing the documentary has helped so many people already. 

Click here to learn more about the Scleroderma Foundation and about the documentary.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Adam Interviews
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Buffalo Kickoff Live!
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Extraordinary People
  • Ask The Experts
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Games and Puzzles

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center