It wasn’t aging that bothered Beverly. She had had psoriasis for more than 10 years and she was exhausted from the stress. Remember, this was 1966. Psoriasis was poorly understood, even by dermatologists. As for treatments, you could choose among creams, lotions and coal tar. There wasn’t much anyone could do for you beyond that.
Foster told her husband, Larry, that the one thing she wanted was to talk to other people with psoriasis. Larry dutifully placed an ad in the local newspaper on Aug. 29, 1966 (Beverly’s birthday), looking for just those people.
Beverly and the people who answered the ad enjoyed talking to each other by phone, so they met in the Fosters’ living room. When they outgrew that space, they met in restaurants, libraries and borrowed offices. They realized that they had a lot to learn about psoriasis, so they invited dermatologists to their meetings. They saw that almost no research was being conducted into this disease, so they started raising money for research. They formed the Psoriasis Society of Oregon and, in 1967, the National Psoriasis Foundation.
“For my part, this was a turning point,” Beverly wrote years later. “My disease was not just a handicap but also the reason for my taking a new lease on life. There were people I could help. I could do something!”
Beverly Foster and all the folks who stepped forward to help didn’t have many resources. But they had hope. They hoped to educate themselves, educate the public, advocate for fair treatment, and fund the research that would lead us, step by step, to a cure.
Fifty-three years later, we are living in the world our founders hoped to see.
Welcome to Founders’ Week
To celebrate our history, we are proud to introduce the first annual Founders’ Week
. This year, Founders’ Week will take place on February 16-22.
Back in 1967, Beverly Foster and the first volunteers agreed that if there was one thing the field of psoriatic disease needed, it was more research. In 1987, NPF funded its first grant, and we haven’t looked back. In 2019, we awarded 41 grants totaling $2.8 million, including the PsA Diagnostic Test Grants
. And we established two new funding opportunities for 2020: The Psoriasis Prevention Initiative
and the Milestones to a Cure grant.
For Founders’ Week, we’re aiming to build on the achievements of the past by raising the money we need to support our mission: to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected.
We invite you to join us in our Founders’ Week activities and help us make a difference.
Here’s what’s to come:
- Monday, Feb. 17: Get educated. Download a free fact sheet on comorbidities (related conditions).
- Tuesday, Feb. 18: Learn about research. Read a story about NPF-funded research and how it helps you.
- Wednesday, Feb. 19: Move our mission forward. Make a gift to help us find a cure.
- Thursday, Feb.20: Tell your lawmakers about the far-reaching impacts of psoriatic disease.
- Friday, Feb. 21: Meet others like you at a Team NPF event.
While Beverly and the people she called her “telephone friends” were busy creating NPF, something amazing happened: they also created a community. Fifty-three years later, it’s our turn to build on their work and make this community even stronger. We invite you to join us for Founders’ Week.
Thank you to Dermarest® for supporting Founders' Week.