Virtual walkathon raises awareness of rare type of tumor to support carcinoid patients and advocacy groups

Carcinoid syndrome – a group of symptoms resulting from active carcinoid tumors in the body – is a rare disease. The aim of a new virtual walkathon, iWalk for Carcinoid, is to increase awareness of carcinoid syndrome and to carcinoid-related organizations.

How can I participate in the iWalk?

Taking part in the online walkathon is easy. You can iWalk on your own, invite family and friends, or create your own team. You can participate without leaving home, putting on your sneakers or spending any money.

To be part of this countrywide online event to raise awareness and support research for carcinoid syndrome, visit www.iwalkforcarcinoid.com.

iWalk for Carcinoid, created by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation enables you to:

* Explore New York, Chicago and San Francisco virtually while you learn about carcinoid syndrome.

* Help raise money to support a carcinoid-related organization of your choice. Select one of five carcinoid-related groups to get credit for your activity, or you chose to select “support all groups.”

* Invite your friends to join the iWalk for Carcinoid community or create your own team of iWalkers. The more people you invite, the more points you will earn toward the charity of your choice. You can track the points you accumulate on your personal dashboard!

Over a thousand walkers have already taken to the virtual streets, and see the walkathon as an exciting and motivating tool to raise awareness and funds for this rare disease.

“I love it! I walked all three cities — it was fun,” said Maryanne Wahmann, Vice President, Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network, and recipient of the 2010 Warner Advocacy Award.

Who does the money raised in iWalk support?

Five carcinoid-related organizations may be supported by the iWalk:

* Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network

* Carcinoid Cancer Foundation, Inc.

* Caring for Carcinoid Foundation

* National Organization for Rare Disorders

* New Jersey Carcinoid Cancer Network

What is carcinoid syndrome?

Carcinoid syndrome refers to the set of symptoms that result from active carcinoid tumors releasing excess hormones into the body. Carcinoid syndrome can include a set of symptoms that range in severity. Some patients may experience all or just some of these symptoms. The most frequent signs and symptoms associated with carcinoid syndrome are diarrhea and flushing (when you turn red and feel warm). Diarrhea and flushing symptoms can occur at the same time, or one can be experienced without the other. However, while these symptoms are the two most common, there are other symptoms of carcinoid syndrome, including (but not limited to): abdominal pain, cramping, wheezing and arthritis. Some patients may experience all or just some of the symptoms of the disease.

Carcinoid tumors can occur in different parts of the body including the rectum, lungs, pancreas, colon and liver. However, two thirds of carcinoid tumors occur in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract includes the stomach, and the small and large intestines. Carcinoid tumors will often grow very slowly and can go undiagnosed for years. In fact, it can take anywhere from five to seven years before an accurate diagnosis is determined.

Approximately 2,500 new patients are diagnosed with carcinoid tumors in the United States every year, and this number is on the rise.

To be part of this countrywide online event where people raise awareness and support research for carcinoid syndrome, visit www.iwalkforcarcinoid.com.