1. Aoife Clancy
Musician Aoife Clancy was famous for being a member of the band Cherish the Ladies. On September 6th, 2002, she lost her father to pulmonary fibrosis after a three-year struggle with the disease. Aoife and Bobby Clancy had a close relationship as he was the one that taught her how to play the guitar when was just 10-years-old, and by the age of 14, they were playing together in pubs. Bobby Clancy, who was a musician himself and part of the Clancy Brothers, kept his spirits high while dealing with pulmonary fibrosis by playing his banjo and singing every day.
2. Clay Aiken
The family of the singer Clay Aiken was also impacted by pulmonary fibrosis. A college student at the time, Clay Aiken became known as the kid with the funny hair who came second in the American Idol contest. Less than a year after being diagnosed with the disease, Clay Aiken’s stepfather, Ray Parker, died on July 4, 2002. While Clay Aiken’s biological father and his mother divorced when the singer was just a baby, Ray Parker accompanied his journey and was like a father to him.
3. Dame Judi Dench
The actress Dame Judi Dench became a spokesperson for the British Lung Foundation (BLF) and was named the organization’s first BLF Special Supporter, after her husband’s death related to pulmonary fibrosis. The Oscar-winner and cinema legend created a fund called Breath of Life in memory of her late husband Michael Williams. He died of lung cancer in 2001, and she has been an advocate for PF and other lung diseases ever since. Dame Judi Dench is the former Vice-President of the BLF.
4. Joe Nichols
Country music star Joe Nichols was debuting the hits “The Impossible” and “Freaks Like Me” when his father Michael Nichols died from complications related to pulmonary fibrosis. It was 2002 and Michael was only 46-years-old. This was a knock-back in Joe’s life at a time when he was enjoying personal success, but the singer decided to share his grief. Ever since Nichols has been dedicated to raising public awareness about pulmonary fibrosis. (Read more about Joe Nichols’ engagement on IPF awareness here: http://bit.ly/1QDNxiw)
5. Robert J. Avrech
The Hollywood screenwriter, who is responsible for movies such as Body Double and The Devil’s Arithmetic, Robert J. Avrech was also affected by pulmonary fibrosis. While not a patient himself, Avrech has seen his son struggle with pulmonary fibrosis. After a long wait for a lung transplant, his son Ariel died at the age of 22. To honor his life and death, as well as encourage novels written for religiously observant Jewish children, Robert J. Avrech decided to found the publishing company Seraphic Press.
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