September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) has chosen Chicago’s Lincoln Park as the venue to launch its inaugural PFF Walk 2017 on Sept. 9. The walk aims to raise both public awareness of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and funds for research to find treatments and a cure for this deadly lung disease.
The PFF is inviting pulmonary fibrosis patients, families, caregivers, and friends to join them for one or three-mile versions of the walk on the lakefront of Chicago’s historic Lincoln Park neighborhood.
For those unable to be in Chicago on walk day, virtual walks are also being organized nationwide in support of the event. Virtual walk participants can complete their miles at a local park or route close to where they live.
In 2018, the PFF Walk will go national with walks to be held in cities across the country.
PFF Board of Directors Chairman George Eliades has announced that more than 400 individuals and 80 teams from Chicago and across the country have already registered for the PFF Walk.
PFF says more than half of registered participants will travel to Chicago from out of state. “Whether you walk or donate to an individual or team, your contribution is making a difference,” Eliades said in a news release.
Among out-of-state registrants are Mark Maguire, his wife Linda, and daughters Liz and Kate of McLean, Virginia. The Maguires have formed the JacMagFamily Team, and have already raised $5,798 toward their goal of $10,000, according to the release. Diagnosed with familial pulmonary fibrosis, Mark expects to soon be on the lung transplant list, and hopes to get new lungs next year.
“My brother, my sister and I have all been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis,” Maguire said. “My brother passed away from the disease. My sister received a double lung transplant last year and has had a challenging recovery but is finally home. Research will lead the way to a cure for this very difficult disease.”
Besides the PFF Walk, features of PF Awareness Month include a social media campaign highlighting the disease and those affected by it. Members of the PF community are encouraged to wear blue and share images using the hashtag #BlueUp4PF throughout the month.
Chicago’s Wrigley Building and the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, will also be supporting PF Awareness Month by displaying blue lighting in September.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition that causes scarring in the lungs, which limits the intake of oxygen required by the brain, heart, and other organs in order to function properly. The PFF estimates that the disease affects some 200,000 Americans, and causes more than 40,000 deaths annually, with 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year.