The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation‘s (PFF) inaugural walk in Chicago on Sept. 9 to kick off Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month far exceeded expectations, drawing over 1,000 participants and helping to raise more than $234,000 for research, organizers said.
Over 1,000 patients, family members, caregivers, and healthcare professionals from 40 states attended the event in person and “virtually” (online), raising more than three times the initial fundraising goal of $70,000. In addition to fundraising, organizers say the event aimed at raising awareness of pulmonary fibrosis and efforts to develop treatments and to find a cure for the deadly lung disease.
Participants joined either a 1-mile or a 3-mile walk on the lakefront in Chicago’s historic Lincoln Park neighborhood. “Virtual” walks were held online for those not able to travel to Chicago, with participants completing their miles at a local park or on routes close to their homes.
Virtual walk participants also hailed from Australia, Belgium, France, and Ireland.
Funds will be used to support educational programs and research focused on the pulmonary fibrosis community.
“We are extremely grateful to the pulmonary fibrosis community, our partners and sponsors for giving the inaugural PFF Walk a phenomenal start,” Bill Schmidt, PFF’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
“We look forward to expanding the event in 2018 as we lead the way to a cure for this devastating disease,” Schmidt added.
The foundation plans to extend the PFF Walk to the other states during next year’s Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month.
In September, the PFF held several activities to raise awareness, including the “30 Facts in 30 Days” campaign, in which the foundation provided one fact per day about pulmonary fibrosis on its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages throughout the month.