HANOVER – The Wegener’s Granulomatosis Association board of directors held a board retreat Oct. 22 and 23 at the organization’s headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Board members participated in team-building exercises, selected committee assignments and reviewed the organization’s proposed five-year strategic plan.

Dick Burns of Hanover was elected to the board in September and will chair the Chapters Committee. Burns became involved with the organization after being diagnosed with Wegener’s in 1991. The committee will focus on developing new chapters around the country and strengthening existing groups.

The association is the international nonprofit organization for Wegener’s patients. The group has more than 4,000 members and offers support and comfort to patients and family members through education, awareness and research.

Wegener’s granulomatosis is a chronic, autoimmune, vasculitis disease that affects about one in 20,000 to one in 30,000 people. The disease strikes people of all ages. There is no known cause, but it is not contagious, and there is no evidence it is hereditary.

The disease affects the sinuses, lungs, kidneys and other body organs. About 90 percent of patients have symptoms of a cold, runny nose or sinusitis that fail to respond to the usual therapeutic measures. Other symptoms may include inflammation of the eyes, hearing problems, pleuritis, rash, fever, lack of energy, weight loss, fatigue, arthritic pain, night sweats and blood in urine.

Diagnosis is made by an ANCA blood test, tissue biopsy or other laboratory findings. Early diagnosis is key to preventing permanent organ damage. Wegener’s can be fatal if not treated.

For more information on the disease or the organization, call 1-800-277-9474 or visit the Web at www.wgassociation.org.

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