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News & Press Releases

Here you will find the most recent organizational news from FARA, including information on events, and awareness and advocacy initiatives. To locate an article from a certain date, please use the archives on the right side of your screen.

Social Security Announces Nationwide Launch of Compassionate Allowances

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the national roll-out of the agency’s Compassionate Allowances initiative, a way to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s standards. “Getting benefits quickly to people with the most severe medical conditions is both the right and the compassionate thing to do,”

Commissioner Astrue said. “This initiative will allow us to make decisions on these cases in a matter of days, rather than months or years.” Social Security is launching this expedited decision process with a total of 50 conditions. Over time, more diseases and conditions will be added. A list of the first 50 impairments -- 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers -- can be found at . Before announcing this initiative, Social Security held public hearings to receive information from experts on rare diseases and cancers. The agency also enlisted the assistance of the National Institutes of Health.

Read More: Social Security Announces Nationwide Launch of Compassionate Allowances

BGC Partners, Inc. Selects the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance as a Charity Day Recipient

BGC Partners, Inc. selected the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) to be one of their 2008 Charity Day recipients. BGC's Charity Day was originally conceived as a way to raise money for the Cantor Relief Fund, by donating a full day's global brokerage commissions to the Fund. Today the event has evolved and funds raised now also go to dozens of other worthy causes around the world.

In 2007 BGC raised over $6 million globally. In New York the event is held in their Wall Street offices, with invited celebrity guests acting as brokers for the day. With the guidance of BGC's licensed brokers, they carry out actual trades of bonds, foreign exchange and other financial instruments with BGC clients- Wall Street's biggest banks. On September 11, 2008, Sean Landeta- retired NY Giants punter, Tiki Barber- retired NY Giants running back and current Today Show correspondent, and Rich Monteleone- NY Yankees Special Pitching Instructor represented FARA on the trading floor for Charity Day.

EDS, Employees garner FARA Partner of the Year honor

The young sufferers of Friedreich's Ataxia (FA) endure muscle weakness and loss of coordination, vision impairment, slurred speech and heart disease. These children generally show symptoms of the disease between the ages of five and 15. Currently, there is no treatment or cure for this rare genetic disease. EDS, an HP company, and 60 employees have rallied behind the FA cause in numerous ways. In recognition of that effort, EDS was recently nam ed Partner of the Year by the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA). Founded in 1998, FARA is an all-volunteer organization that supports education and research into treatment and a cure for FA. EDS volunteers are giving hundreds of hours of their own time to raise money and awareness for the cause, develop technology solutions for the alliance, and serve on its board. EDSers have also provided communications support, a technology plan and consulting for a FARA quarterly newsletter. In addition, the EDS Foundation awarded FARA a grant in 2007.

Read More: EDS, Employees garner FARA Partner of the Year honor

Alliance Charities, Inc. Introduces a Way to Support Causes in Tough Economic Times

It comes as no surprise as the economy continues to slide, taking financial security with it, giving is on the decline. That's bad news for nonprofits. The good news, however, is that Alliance Charities, Inc. (, a 501(c)(3) organization, has a way for anyone to support causes they care about without actually giving out-of-pocket.

By partnering with retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, eBay, Staples, Gap, Disney, Starbucks and many others — and by utilizing Google Custom Search — Alliance Charities enables online shoppers to contribute to U.S.-based nonprofits with every purchase they make.

For shoppers, there is no added expense. Funding comes from commissions earned on purchases. Affiliate retailers send Alliance Charities commissions based on shoppers' purchases of items they would normally buy, and Alliance Charities distributes funds to supported charities.

Read More: Alliance Charities, Inc. Introduces a Way to Support Causes in Tough Economic Times

Gill Family Wins FARA a Spot on Jimmie Johnson’s Helmet of Hope To Be Worn During NASCAR's Pepsi 500 on August 31, 2008

The Gill Family of Parkville, Missouri wrote a winning essay for the Helmet of Hope contest sponsored by The Jimmie Johnson Foundation to showcase the charity most important to the applicant family. FARA was one of a total of twelve charities selected from the fan submissions and the FARA logo will be displayed on Jimmie's (NASCAR) helmet during the Pepsi 500 on August 31, 2008 at the Auto Club Speedway. Susan Gill, mother of Rachel (FA), enlisted the support of her family to submit essays on why the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) was important to them, and the essay of Rachel’s uncle Neil Hanneman (a former stock car racer) was selected as one of the winning entries. Hanneman writes, “Seeing the FARA logo on Jimmie's helmet would give some visibility to finding a cure for a life- shortening disease that affects children while giving hope and enjoyment to those kids that are afflicted by FA." Watch for the FARA logo on Jimmie’s helmet as the #48 car speeds around the track.

Additional information on FARA and the Helmet of Hope can be found on

Fans may bid on the one-of-a kind, race-worn helmet at The auction runs through Tues., Aug. 26 at 11:40 p.m. ET with proceeds benefiting San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

A Special Ticket Package is Available Through The Johnson Foundation. To Get Info / Purchase Tickets Click: Auto Club Speedway and select Jimmie Johnson Foundation Package, then click More Info.

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