Wyckoff, NJ, November 16th, 2018
Thirteen years ago on November 18th, Dr. Susan Little DVM, then President of the Winn Feline Foundation announced creation of the Bria Fund for FIP Research, dedicated to the study of Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
Bria, a nine month old Birman kitten died from complications of FIP on April 19, 2005. In her memory, Bria's parents, Susan Gingrich and Jim Shurskis, successfully approached Winn with their proposal for the Bria Fund. The original Winn announcement stated, "In memory of Bria, the fund will advance FIP research to hopefully someday eliminate it, or at the very least, develop an accurate test and make FIP a treatable, chronic illness."
Because of the Bria Fund's creation, interest in FIP research increased, and donations of over a half million dollars from supporters funded 26 important studies from FIP researchers around the world. FIP progress occurred beyond part of Winn's vision in 2005. Some cats are now living with FIP as a chronic disease. Beyond that, two clinical trials, using anti-viral drugs resulted in cats seemingly cured of FIP, some of them for over two years and living normal, healthy lives. Although not approved, nor on the market yet, these drugs and others currently being researched will be a game changer for many cats with FIP.
On the 10th anniversary of the Bria Fund, United States Congressman Jimmy Duncan from Tennessee issued a statement entered into the Congressional Record acknowledging the Bria Fund, FIP, progress made, and the importance of FIP research. November 18th is acknowledged as "National Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Awareness, Research, and Education Day".
The Winn Feline Foundation prior to creation of the Bria Fund, had a long history of supporting FIP research and ending FIP as a Winn priority. As an international feline only non-profit, Winn funded and continues to support more FIP research studies than any other non-profits. Looking at Winn FIP funded studies, provides a historical perspective in FIP knowledge gained and progress made. Donations to the Bria Fund support only humane, FIP research studies, Winn takes no administrative fees, and all Winn grants to researchers may not be used for university overhead. Grants are solely intended to fund research itself.
There is still far to go to completely solve the FIP puzzle and be able to help every cat with FIP. With continued support for FIP research, imagine the progress which can be still be made in the remaining years of this one and the next decade!