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In Memory of Arlene Pessar, debra of America's Founder

Arlene Pessar debra of America Epidermolysis Bullosa
Arlene Pessar and Eric Lopez

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of debra of America’s Founder, Arlene Pessar. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Arlene, who sadly passed away on September 15, 2023. 

Arlene, alongside her son Eric Lopez, who was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), dedicated her life to shedding light on EB and bringing hope to countless families affected by it. 

Frustrated with the lack of available medical information on EB when Eric was born, Arlene founded debra of America in 1980 to fill the large gaps in knowledge about the cause, diagnosis, treatments and a cure for the rare disease. After they had written the first informational materials on EB, the mother and son team worked tirelessly to identify regional representatives who could spread awareness and education about the disease. Through television, radio, and newspaper publicity, they drew attention to debra of America's mission. 

Their valiant efforts even caught the attention of President Ronald Reagan. On October 11, 1984, President Reagan and the 98th Congress of the United States of America signed the Joint Resolution approving the first-ever “National Epidermolysis Bullosa Awareness Week.” 

Arlene Pessar was an extraordinary individual whose dedication, love, and unwavering commitment to the EB Community have left an indelible mark on all of us. debra of America will continue to honor her memory by carrying forward the mission she and Eric began. Please join us in celebrating the life of the amazing Arlene Pessar. 

October 8, 2023 Funeral Service details.

Make a donation to debra of America in Arlene's honor. Thank you for your support.