Alan Abram lives with scleroderma, a chronic, often progressive autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and can cause thickening and tightening of skin, as well as serious damage to internal organs. He was diagnosed with scleroderma in 1994; however, he did not let the diagnosis keep him from community service.
Abram has volunteered in the South Florida Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation since October 1994, when he and his wife moved to Florida. Abram has served not only as a member of the board of the southeast Florida Chapter, but as Vice President and President as well. At the present he is serving a new term as president.
In addition to his other service to the Foundation, Abram, with the help of his wife Dorothy, has planned an annual fundraiser, Have a Heart for Scleroderma. Abram prepares letters of solicitation and invitations for the event as well as chairing the event. He also recruits organizations to donate items for the event. This last year was the 9th annual event, and the past nine events have totaled $500,000 collected for research for a cure for scleroderma.
Because of his first-hand knowledge and experience with scleroderma, Abram has had a separate phone line installed in his house so he can take calls anytime of the day or night from people newly diagnosed with scleroderma, or people wanting information about the organization.
Abrams suffers from other chronic health problems in addition to scleroderma, but he does not complain about his infirmity. Instead he works to find innovative ways to help others and raise money for research and a cure. Abrams is a well of information for those calling him, and a caring ear for those who need to talk about their illness or need assistance finding medical care. This attitude is remarkable in general, but more specifically because Abrams recently turned 75 years old. He is at an age where many look to relax, but he looks to overcome an illness while still helping others.