Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Raises Funds and Awareness While Recognizing Outstanding Leaders in the Pulmonary Fibrosis Community
Breathe Benefit 2013: Community Inspiring a Cure Honors Co-Founder and Acknowledges Research Grant Recipients and Volunteer Leaders
CHICAGO, Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) held its annual dinner, the Breathe Benefit 2013: Community Inspiring a Cure, on October 26, 2013, at The Drake Hotel in Chicago. The event raised almost $200,000 to support the Foundation’s mission to find a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), advocate for the pulmonary fibrosis (PF) community, promote disease awareness, and provide a compassionate environment for patients and their families. At the dinner, the Foundation presented its 2013 Research Fund, Support Group, and Volunteer Awards to individuals whose crucial research and engagement have made a significant difference to the pulmonary fibrosis community.
The 250 attendees included patients, caregivers, family members, researchers, medical professionals, and other dedicated supporters of the PF community. The Foundation was honored to have Broadway actress, comedienne, and devoted PF advocate, Julie Halston, and WGN Radio’s play-by-play voice of the Chicago Cubs, Pat Hughes, emcee the dinner. Julie Halston and husband Ralph Howard, former anchorman for Howard Stern’s Howard 100 News, and Pat Hughes, served as Honorary Chairs of the event. Co-chairs of the dinner were dedicated supporters, Steve and Joan Wald, and the Michael P. Savoca Family. Patti Tuomey, EdD, the Foundation’s President and Chief Operating Officer, expressed her gratitude to “our wonderful hosts and co-chairs for their dedication to our mission.” Dr. Tuomey also recognized Presenting Sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim “for their support of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation and commitment to the pulmonary fibrosis community.”
The evening featured a photographic tribute to one of the Foundation’s founders, Albert Rose, MD. Albert Rose and his brother, I.M. Rosenzweig, started the Foundation in September 2000 after both were diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and after losing their sister to the disease. Albert Rose lost his courageous battle with IPF in 2002. This year, the Foundation’s Established Investigator Awards were re-named in his honor. Daniel M. Rose, MD, the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors, gave a touching remembrance of his father and spoke of the Foundation’s commitment to carry on his legacy of “. . . dedication and passion to ensure that there would always be a resource–someone for those with pulmonary fibrosis to turn to–and to prevent others from suffering from this terrible disease.”
The PFF Research Fund Awards were presented by Jesse Roman, MD, the Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board Member and Chairman of the Research Advisory Committee, who spoke about the importance of funding research and encouraging collaboration between industry and academic researchers. The recipients of the Albert Rose Established Investigator Awards were Michael Beers, MD, and Mauricio Rojas, MD. The two I.M. Rosenzweig Young Investigator Awards were given to Kusum Pandit, MBBS, PhD, and Kristen Leeman, MD. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation gratefully acknowledged the support of Boehringer Ingelheim for funding an Established Investigator Award and InterMune, Inc., for funding an I.M. Rosenzweig Young Investigator Award.
In addition to the Research Fund Awards, the Foundation presented its Legacy Award. The honor is given to a community member or organization that has demonstrated long-term support of the Foundation and has helped foster growth and the advancement of its mission. This year’s recipient was Thomas E. Hales, a long-standing member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Board Treasurer. Terrence Hales, his son and devoted PF advocate, accepted the award on his behalf.
Julie Halston and her husband, Ralph Howard, spoke eloquently of the importance of spreading disease awareness and supporting the mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Mr. Howard was diagnosed with PF and received a lung transplant in 2011. The couple, after being touched by the disease a second time when they lost a close friend to PF, Broadway critic Michael Kuchwara, now organize an annual Foundation signature event, Broadway Belts for PFF! The event has raised nearly $160,000 in its first three years; the next Broadway Belts for PFF! will be held on February 24, 2014. Mr. Howard shared his personal perspective on living with the disease and the urgent need to raise awareness and fund research to find better treatments and a cure.
The Team PFF Awards were presented by Julie Halston and given to Cindy Chandler and Marilyn Solimano for the Greg Chandler and Guy F. Solimano Memorial Golf Outing; Nick DeVito for the Pete DeVito Memorial Golf Outing; and Rob Fiorillo for the Barbara A. Fiorillo Memorial Bike Run and Picnic for their tireless efforts and continual dedication to increasing disease awareness and fundraising.
Pat Hughes, who became acquainted with the Foundation through Trey Schwab, former basketball coach at Marquette University and PF advocate, announced the 11 recipients of the 2013 Leanne Storch Support Group Fund grants to support groups that play an important role for people impacted by the disease, their families, and caregivers.
The Young Philanthropist Award was presented to ten-year-old Brock Powers, recognizing his exceptional dedication and support on behalf of the PF community. Brock was unable to attend the dinner, but in a statement read on his behalf, Brock said, “It really frustrates me how some people don’t know about the disease . . . I want there to be a cure for my mom and everyone else’s mom or dad, family member, or friend. I would like to thank everybody for this award, especially thanks to my mom for taking care of me in the roughest times . . . And someday, sometime, I am sure there will be a cure because I know together we can find one. Thank you.”
The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation thanks the following sponsors for their generous support: Presenting Sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim; Platinum Sponsors, InterMune, Inc., and Daniel M. Rose, MD, and Family; Silver Sponsors, The Mark Fuller Family and The Frank J. McMahon Family; and Friends of the Foundation, Chuck and Jennifer Lawless, ClinicaLingua Translation Services, Don Luken and Friends of Tom Clark, the Family of Michael P. Savoca, the Harmon Family, IPF Patients and Families, Jennifer A. Galvin, MD, John Ryan in Memory of Timothy J. Ryan, Julie Willis O’Connor in Memory of Her Dad, Bo Willis, Patti Tuomey and Chris Martin, The Pete DeVito Memorial Foundation, Ritu Baral, Tom Panoplos, Tom and Alice Hales, University of Wisconsin Lung Transplant – Advanced Disease Program, and Zoë C. Dirks in Memory of Stephen Dirks.
About the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
The mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is to help find a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), advocate for the pulmonary fibrosis community, promote disease awareness, and provide a compassionate environment for patients and their families. The PFF collaborates with physicians, organizations, patients, and caregivers worldwide. December 1-3, 2011, the PFF hosted its first biennial international scientific conference, IPF Summit 2011: From Bench to Bedside, in Chicago; PFF Summit 2013 will be held December 5-7, 2013, in La Jolla, California. For more information visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org or call 888.733.6741 or +1 312.587.9272 from outside of the US.
About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in which over a period of time the lung tissue becomes thickened, stiff, and scarred. The development of the scar tissue is called fibrosis. As the lung tissue becomes scarred and thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and other organs don’t receive the oxygen they need. In some cases, doctors can determine the cause of the fibrosis, but in most cases, there is not a known cause. When there is no known etiology for the fibrosis (and certain pathologic or radiographic criteria are met), the disease is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. IPF affects approximately 200,000 individuals in the United States (US), and 38,000 individuals in the European Union (EU). The annual mortality is estimated to be 40,000 in the US alone, with an average survival of 2-3 years following diagnosis. There is no cure for IPF. There is no FDA-approved treatment for IPF in the US and limited therapeutic options available for individuals with mild-to-moderate IPF in the EU, Canada, and Asia.
About the PFF Research Fund
The PFF Research Fund supports research that will ultimately lead to successful therapies for pulmonary fibrosis (PF). These awards, the I.M. Rosenzweig Young Investigator Award and the Albert Rose Established Investigator Awards, support projects that offer a high likelihood of improving the understanding of pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in the following areas: basic science, translational research, clinical medicine/research, and social science/quality of life. The call for letters of intent (LOI) for the 2014 grant cycle opened on October 17, 2013. All submissions must be received by November 15 at 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time . The LOI review process will take place in December and notifications of acceptance to submit a full application will occur in January 2014. Full grant proposals from investigators will be due mid-February. Review will take place in May and award recipients will be notified in June 2014. Grant recipients will be acknowledged at the PFF’s Breathe Benefit annual dinner in the fall of 2014. Visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/research/PFFgrants for more information.
Contact: Cara Schillinger
Associate Vice President, Communications and Marketing
SOURCE The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation