28 February 2011 is Rare Disease Day and one of the main aims is to raise awareness of rare diseases. Rare Disease UK an alliance of organisations that represent people with rare diseases – is holding parliamentary receptions to mark the day:

Scottish Parliament – 22nd February
Westminster – 28th February
Northern Ireland Assembly – 3rd March
Welsh Assembly – 16th March

BTF is a member of Rare Disease UK, and will be sending representatives to the receptions to raise awareness of two of the less common thyroid disorders: thyroid cancer and thyroid eye disease. A key group to raise awareness amongst is politicians, and we would like to ask for your help. The most effective way of ensuring attendance by politicians is by getting in touch with your local politician as their constituent to ask them to attend.

Below you will find template letters supplied by Rare Disease UK for you to adapt and send depending on whether you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Template Letter to MPs - Westminster

Please find below a template letter to your Member of Parliament asking them to attend the Rare Disease Day 2011 reception at Westminster on the 28th February.

Download Westminster template letter (Word doc)

You can contact your MP by post or by email. If you are not sure who your local MP is, or if you would like to look up their contact details to email them, you can find them by visiting findyourmp.parliament.uk

If you have any questions, you are having difficulty finding out who your MP is, or would like some further assistance, please contact Paula Barbosa at assistant@geneticalliance.org.uk or call 020 7704 3141.

Template Letter to Members of the Scottish Parliament

Please find below a template letter to your Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) asking them to attend the Rare Disease Day 2011 reception at the Scottish Parliament on the 22nd February.

Download Scotland template letter (Word doc)

You can contact your MSPs by post or by email. If you are not sure who your local MSPs are, or if you would like to look up their contact details to email them, you can visit this link.

Remember you have 8 MSPs in total, 1 constituency MSP and 7 regional MSPs. If possible, could you send/email the letter to each.

If you have any questions, you are having difficulty finding out who your MSPs are, or would like some further assistance, please contact Natalie Frankish at scotland@raredisease.org.uk or call 0131 651 4805.

Remember you also have an MP so please feel free to adapt the Westminster template letter for them too!

Template Letter to Welsh Assembly Members

Please find below a template letter to your Assembly Members (AMs) asking them to attend the Rare Disease Day 2011 reception at the Welsh Assembly on the 16th March.

Download Wales template letter (Word doc)

You can contact your AMs by post or by email. If you are not sure who your local AMs are, or if you would like to look up their contact details to email them, you can visit this link.

Remember you have 5 AMs in total, 1 constituency AM and 4 regional AMs. If possible, could you send/email the letter to each.

If you have any questions, you are having difficulty finding out who your AMs are, or would like some further assistance, please contact Buddug Cope at cope@cf.ac.uk or call 02920 687 646.

Remember you also have an MP so please feel free to adapt the Westminster template letter for them too!

Template Letter to Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly

Please find below a template letter to your Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly (MLAs) asking them to attend the Rare Disease Day 2011 reception at the Northern Ireland Assembly on the 3rd March.

Download Northern Ireland template letter (Word doc)

You can contact your MLAs by post or by email. If you are not sure who your local MLAs are, or if you would like to look up their contact details to email them, you can visit this link.

Remember there are 6 MLAs representing each constituency. If possible, could you send/email the letter to each.

If you have any questions, you are having difficulty finding out who your MLAs are, or would like some further assistance, please contact Stephen Nutt at stephen@raredisease.org.uk or call 020 7704 3141.

Remember you also have an MP so please feel free to adapt the Westminster template letter for them too!

Rare Disease UK told us:

‘This is a particularly significant Rare Disease Day for us as we will be launching our new report "Improving Lives, Optimising Resources: A Vision for the UK Rare Disease Strategy". This report is the culmination of a year and a half of work to develop recommendations for a strategy for rare diseases. We hope that these recommendations will be taken on board by the Government and the devolved administrations when developing a strategy for rare diseases, so it is important we make as much political noise as possible!’