America's Next Top Model Winner Caridee English Speaks at Congressional Briefing
CariDee English, winner of the seventh America’s Next Top Model, represented the National Psoriasis Foundation at a congressional briefing on June 11th in Washington, D.C.

The briefing was held in support of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research, Cure and Care Act, and more than 100 people came to hear English and other speakers talk about the debilitating disease.

“It was gratifying,” said the 21-year-old model. “To speak out in favor of the psoriasis bill with people who have the power to make it happen."

English was only five years old when she was diagnosed with psoriasis. By the time she was a teenager, the disease had covered almost 70 percent of her body. She had dreamed of becoming a model for a long time, but felt discouraged when her condition worsened. However, her doctor was able to help her control the disease, and she gained the confidence to try out and ultimately win America’s Next Top Model 7.

In May, she became the spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and understanding about the disease through education and advocacy.

"Psoriasis awareness is very important to me,” the America’s Next Top Model winner said last month. “I want others with the disease to know they are not alone. I want to inspire them to live their dreams.”

English’s mother, Pam Flesness, also suffers from psoriasis and became a member of the organization when English was young. Flesness accompanied her daughter to the congressional briefing, where English and the other speakers talked about the systemic nature of psoriasis and its roots in the immune system. She addressed a myriad of questions regarding the disease, including how it emotionally and physically affects her, what it’s like to live with psoriasis and the new psoriasis legislation.

The said legislation was first introduced to the House of Representatives in February by Rep. David Wu, D-Oregon. At the congressional briefing, Wu took some time to discuss the legislation and the importance of finding a cure for psoriasis.

English is expected to appear at the National Psoriasis Foundation 2007 National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Aug. 17-18.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Source: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology news

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