SAN DIEGO: Charitable organization Sepsis Alliance is looking for a firm to provide branding and PR expertise on pro-bono basis.
"We’re very thinly resourced at this point," said Thomas Heymann, president and executive director of the nonprofit, which focuses on combating the infectious disease known as sepsis.
Sepsis Alliance hasn’t been able to take "full advantage" of telling its story through the media, he explained.
Heymann said the disease, which can start either internally or with "something as simple as a spider bite," is the third leading cause of death in the US behind heart disease and cancer. Sepsis is also the top cost of hospitalization in the country, he said.
Educating the public is critical, explained Heymann, because a recent survey indicated only 44% of people have heard the word before, but they can’t necessarily define it.
"We have a branding and communications awareness challenge on this disease," said Heymann. "It’s just amazing something that has this much impact is so poorly understood and unknown."
Heymann categorized the potential PR work as a "special and unique opportunity to make a difference in our lifetime and be that agency that really helps brand sepsis."
He added that it’s a chance to increase awareness from 44% to 70%, 80%, or even 90%.
While early detection can help a patient fully recover, Heymann compared the lack of awareness and education to "the early days of cardiac arrest" when people didn’t know what to do.
The Alliance, founded in 2007 when awareness was only around 19%, educates the public, healthcare providers, and policy makers, and offers support to patients, survivors, and their families.
Some current awareness efforts carried out by the organization include walk-a-thons, volleyball tournaments, and an annual Celebration of Sepsis Heroes event. The nonprofit also leverages its website, which features a Faces of Sepsis section for people who have been affected by the disease.
According to the organization’s website, more than 1.6 million cases of sepsis are diagnosed per year, and the disease claims a life every two minutes.