The IFOPA provides many programs and services to patients, families and the FOP community.
- More than $500,000 is given to the Center for Research in FOP and Related Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine each year.
- Instrumental scientific research studies are administered on FOP patients facing additional afflictions.
- The FOP Registry is a global, voluntary database that collects and reports demographics, disease and quality-of-life information directly from individuals with FOP twice a year via a secure, web-based tool.
- The ACT (Accelerating Cures & Treatments) for FOP Grant Program provides, through a competitive application process, research funding to scientists conducting research on Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP).
- The Tooth Ferry Program at UPenn collects baby teeth as children lose them to study as a model for how FOP functions at a cellular level. Children with FOP, as well as siblings and non-family members, are welcome to participate.
Education is provided to the medical community on early signs of FOP.
Various publications and other media about FOP, clinical trials and issues surrounding those diagnosed with FOP are distributed via the IFOPA website.
- A collection of videos highlighting various aspects of FOP are available on the IFOPA website, as well as the IFOPA YouTube channel.
- The IFOPA hosts regional events, such as the Midwest Family Gathering, to bring together families with FOP and clinicians in the field for a weekend of learning and networking.
- The Resilient Living Program provides education for strengthening the mind and spirit as every family works to overcome the challenges they face throughout their journey with FOP.
- The Ability Toolbox Program is designed to empower individuals with FOP by promoting independence through the use of tools and home adaptations.
- The FOP Connection is a monthly eNewsletter featuring articles and photos about FOP research, resources, fundraising, and the FOP community.
- Online Support Groups allow individuals living with FOP and/ or their parents to connect with one another in a safe environment. These groups are used to ask questions and get advice, share concerns, provide practical suggestions for everyday life and situations that may arise, and simply be connected to others with FOP. These groups are generally administered by FOP individuals or, in the case of Parents with FOPers, by a parent of a child with FOP.
- The Harold & Elaine Kaplan Quality of L.I.F.E. (Living Independently with Full Equality) Awards are granted to patients with FOP. The program is designed to promote health, welfare and independence. Examples of awards range from adaptive equipment, walkers, wheelchairs, adaptive bed, vehicle adaptation, tuition/registration for vocational training, specialized bicycles, computer hardware or assistive technology and reading aids. Click L.I.F.E. Award for guidelines and application.
- The FOP Connect: Peer Mentor Program is designed to provide constituents in the FOP community the opportunity to have mentors to better guide them through the challenges of FOP.
- Guidebooks written for families dealing with FOP are available online.
- Learn more about ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Accounts - tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. An ABLE account allows anyone to contribute (including the account holder) without the fear of saving too high of an amount and losing essential benefits that allow a person living with a disability to live independently.
- Learn more about medical cannabis — a valuable tool for managing chronic pain.
- Learn more about the transition to an adult health care provider and an taking an adult approach to managing one's care.
- Access the IFOPA's Zoom Resource to connect with other members of the community using an online video conferencing platform.
The IFOPA is an active member of:
IFOPA Celebrates its 25th Anniversary in High Style!
By Mark Gambaiana
To commemorate the wonderful growth, multiple achievements and progress toward a treatment and cure, the IFOPA celebrated its 25th anniversary with a family gathering at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Conference Center in Kissimmee, Florida from November 7-9, 2013. Please view our 25th Anniversary Highlight Video.
More than 279 people enjoyed the three-day festivities, including 59 FOP members. Attendees represented a dozen international countries and six continents.
The 2013 year marked a special milestone in the history of the IFOPA — our 25th year of operation! Founded by Jeannie Peeper as a means to end the isolation of those afflicted with FOP, our organization began in 1988 as a pen pal group. Now, we are the world’s leading advocate and resource on FOP whose programs and services are focused on research, education, support and advocacy.
An opening reception, series of family-oriented activities, research updates, clinical appointments, special presentations on dental and anesthesia workshops and a celebration banquet all highlighted the weekend. The banquet included remarks by Richard Simcox, one of the world’s leading FOP philanthropists, Dr. Fred Kaplan, the renowned leading FOP clinician, a special presentation by Saskia Blonk of The Netherlands to the FOP researchers, and a tribute to our founder and president, Jeannie Peeper.
The anniversary year was a time to reflect and say thank you to the many families and friends who have made investments of items and resources to advance our cause. Because of you, we have funded research and provided programmatic support to improve the lives of people around the globe who suffer from this condition.
Thank you to our scientists and researchers who are working daily to solve the mysteries of FOP and keep the march moving forward toward a treatment and a cure.
A lot has happened since the IFOPA began in 1988. Six of our founding members reflect on the past 30 years of this groundbreaking organization.
To read articles from 2013 about all 11 IFOPA Founding Legacy Members, please go to this page.
Celebrating achievement in the FOP community
The Jeannie Peeper Awards - which honor our Founder’s initiative, leadership, vision and courage - recognize those who make exceptional contributions to the IFOPA through their leadership, service, fundraising, awareness-building and other accomplishments.
Since 2010, the IFOPA has recognized individuals and groups for their service to the FOP community.
We are pleased to announce the 2020 Jeannie Peeper Award winners whose gifts of time, talent, experience and selflessness have made an incredible impact on the FOP community. Learn more about them through their stories.
Thank you to the 2020 Jeannie Peeper Awards Committee, which included Jeannie Peeper, Gretty Emmerich, Nadine Grossmann, Nancy Sando and Michelle Davis.
Please click the links below to read about past award recipients.
- 2020 Award Winners
- 2019 Award Winners
- 2018 Award Winners
- 2017 Award Winners
- 2016 Award Winners
- 2015 Award Winners
- 2014 Award Winners
- 2013 Award Winners
- 2012 Award Winners
- 2011 Award Winners
- 2010 Award Winners
FOP Awareness Video
Change My Life: A Thank You Video
FOP Facts and Insights
This 15-part video series offers an abundance of information and advice for people with FOP and their family members, physicians and caregivers. Produced in 2009, the videos include information by Frederick Kaplan, M.D. and Dr. Eileen Shore, Ph.D. of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, as well as IFOPA community member Lori Henrotay, who helped produce the videos for the organization.
- Series Overview
- What is FOP?
- Clinical Features
- FOP Misdiagnosis: Issues and Consequences
- Treatment Guidelines and Considerations
- Pain Management
- Special Medical Considerations
- FOP Gene Discovery
- The FOP Research Lab
- Collaborative Research
- Hearing Impairment
- Preventative Oral Hygiene
These are two videos from workshops presented for FOP individuals and families at the IFOPA 25th Anniversary event in 2013.
Waiting on copy for this page.
Waiting to see if we have photos of Dr. and kids in a clinical setting. Have photos of Dr. Kaplan with kids (less clinical) - waiting on permission to use.
In April 2006, after 15 years of painstaking research, the FOP research team at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and their international collaborators, pinpointed a single gene mutation -- one letter out of six billion in the human genome -- that causes the runaway bone growth of FOP. This groundbreaking discovery is being used to unlock the mysteries of FOP. Learn more about the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and meet the researcher who discovered the gene.
FOP is caused by a mutation of a gene for a receptor called ACVR1 in the bone morphogenetic protein-signaling pathway.
Following the discovery of the gene, research efforts towards a treatment and a cure accelerated. The discovery of the FOP gene provides a highly specific target for future drug development that holds promise for altering not just the symptoms of the disease but the disease itself. It also allowed for the creation of animal models that can express the mutant gene, further enabling research and drug development.
Read more about the news from 2006: