National Psoriasis Foundation Announces National Youth Ambassador

Youth Honored for Raising Awareness, Funds and Advocating for Those with Psoriatic Disease

Portland, Ore. (July 10, 2017) —The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is proud to recognize Michael Wood as the 2017 NPF National Youth Ambassador. The NPF Youth Ambassador program, sponsored by LEO Pharma Inc., fosters opportunities for youth to make friends and engage with others who have psoriatic disease. Youth Ambassadors serve as leaders in the community, act as role models to help peers manage and take control of their disease, and inspire others with psoriatic disease to lead confident and fulfilling lives.

“The physical and emotional impact of psoriatic disease is often magnified for young people, who already grapple with a range of coming-of-age issues,” said Randy Beranek, NPF president and CEO. “Having a youth like Michael sharing his experience living with psoriasis in his community and beyond is an invaluable resource. We are proud of all of our youth ambassadors and want to be sure all those living with psoriatic disease understand the resources available to them in managing their disease.”

Serving as the local youth ambassador in San Antonio, Texas, Wood has been using his voice to raise awareness and advocate for people with psoriasis throughout his state. In February 2017, Wood participated in a state lobby day in Austin where he and other NPF volunteers met with state officials to advocate for the step therapy legislation put forth by NPF and the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. In March 2017, Wood testified in front of the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee and shared his powerful story about the impact psoriasis has had on his life and the struggles he has faced in securing the appropriate treatments prescribed by his doctors.

In addition to being an NPF advocate, Wood and his family joined Team NPF and participated in the Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K.  Raising over $7,000, Wood, who was unable to complete the 5K because of his psoriatic arthritis, joined his family a half mile from the end of the race so they could cross the finish line together.

"I am honored to serve as an NPF National Youth Ambassador. I have had a wonderful experience this year advocating for legislation in the Texas state capitol as well as fundraising through the Austin Marathon, and plan to continue to serve NPF in many more ways,” said Michael Wood. “I am proud to represent NPF and plan to continue to raise awareness for such an amazing organization that does so much to help people with psoriatic disease.”

Former professional football player Jonathan Scott, who was diagnosed with psoriasis in 2009, has supported the NPF Youth Ambassador program for many years. Meeting with youth to share his story of dealing with psoriasis while playing for the National Football League, Scott works to create awareness about the disease and help young people with psoriasis know that they're not alone.

"Over the past few years I have had the distinct pleasure of working with the National Psoriasis Foundation Youth Ambassador program which encourages young leaders to raise awareness about psoriatic disease in their respective communities,” said Scott. “I am excited to be working with Michael Wood, the 2017 NPF National Youth Ambassador this coming year to continue to create awareness for psoriatic disease.”

The 2017-2018 NPF Youth Ambassador program is open to U.S. residents ages 12 to 20. Interested youth must complete the online application by August 15, 2017. NPF will select up to 25 ambassadors from across the U.S. to serve as regional Youth Ambassadors from September 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018. Regional Youth Ambassadors will be notified by August 31, 2017, and will receive a $100 stipend to support work in their community.

In 2018, one Youth Ambassador will be selected as the National Youth Ambassador and will receive a $2,500 scholarship, as well as invitations to special NPF events such as Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C.; and Psoriasis Awareness Month and World Psoriasis Day celebrations.

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About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $21 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at www.psoriasis.org.