Members of team Raynes Park, Anthea Turner and Sagair Hussain DEBRA Director of Research standing outside the front of the shop wearing purple hoodies.

Starting on Rare Disease Day on the 28th February, we launched The DEBRA Effect across our retail stores in England and Scotland to raise awareness of EB.


The message at the heart of the campaign is based on The Butterfly Effect, whereby a butterfly flapping its wings can result in a tornado several weeks later. In other words, a single action can make a huge difference to people living with EB. EB is often referred to as 'Butterfly skin' as for people living with EB, their skin can be as fragile as a butterfly's wings.


Six stores in Paisley, Bathgate, Davenport, Poole, Raynes Park, and Ashford led the way in hosting fun activities for customers to join in and raise awareness of EB; there were butterfly colouring contests, tombolas, butterfly cake sales, fairy godmother grottos, and more! There have been celebrity appearances, such as TV presenters Anthea Turner and Les Dennis, as well as some special visits from local MPs and mayors.


Many other DEBRA stores also got involved in the fun:

  • Farncombe raised £350 by selling cakes and raffle tickets.
  • Westbourne Assistant Manager, Jenny Rogers created beautiful bouquets to sell.
  • Swindon produced a fantastic balloon arch window display.
  • Croydon had the fantastically talented Yasmin Cupcakes sell her cakes in-store (Check out her Instagram, @yasminscupcakes).
  • Winton dressed up to raise funds.
  • Nailsea got baking and asked children to decorate butterfly cookies.


Two DEBRA team members standing in a shop wearing purple hoodies and blue butterfly wingsWoman dressed as a fairy godmother surrounded by flowers


3 members of team Bathgate standing outside the front of the shop wearing purple hoodies and blue butterfly wings.5 members of team paisley standing outside the front of the shop doors wearing purple hoodies and blue butterfly wings.


Additionally, our social media campaign #SpreadYourWingsForDEBRA, in which we encourage people to post an image of themselves using the butterfly wing hand gesture, has been spreading across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with special shout outs from the Holland Brothers and Phil Vickery.


We’d like to say a huge thank you to all our retail staff and volunteers who have worked hard to make The DEBRA Effect a success in their stores, their dedication and creativity has brought this campaign to life! And to everyone who visited our stores during the week and #SpreadYourWingsForDEBRA on social media, thank you for supporting our campaign and helping to send ripples of hope to people living with EB.


It's not too late to get involved. Only 13% of people have heard of EB, so the more people who get involved, the more awareness we will raise of EB.


How you can continue The DEBRA Effect...

  • Donate to or buy something pre-loved at your local DEBRA store. You can find your local store here.
  • #SpreadYourWingsForDEBRA on social media- simply upload an image of yourself doing the butterfly wings hand gesture to your own social media profile and make sure to use the hashtag "#SpreadYourWingsForDEBRA". Remember to tag your friends, family, and colleagues to do the same!

Let's continue to #SpreadYourWingsForDEBRA and send ripples of hope to people living with EB!


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