Family members of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients across generations — their children and grandchildren — recently came together in London recently to sing an emotional rendition of Rachel Platten’s hit “Fight Song,” part of a global campaign (#fightsongchallenge) to promote disease awareness.
The campaign encourages IPF patients and their families to stand up to the disease, be better informed, and to share their knowledge, both through open conversations with their doctors and with the general public.
“That’s why this campaign is so important. We want to remind patients that they are not alone and first and foremost they are much loved and supported parents and grandparents,” Robert Davidson, president and founder of the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, said in a press release. “When patients understand they are not alone in their plight but share it with a multitude of others, they are encouraged … empowering them to live life in the moment, strive toward their goals and never surrender.”
Jim Gillies, a 70-year-old Canadian who has been living with IPF for four years, took part with his family. His daughter and grandchildren joined other families of IPF patients in a surprise singing performance in London.
“I felt every emotion watching my daughter and grandchildren perform this song with so many others who have been touched by IPF,” Gillies said. “It reminds me that every day is precious. To know this disease is eventually going to take you, makes me want to do all I can physically and mentally to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I want to be part of defining this disease, and not have the disease define me. By sharing my story, and by being a part of this, I hope to encourage people to be aware of the symptoms, and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.”
The campaign was developed by Roche and the IPF community, and inspired by the Breathless Choir started several years ago by Philips. During the live performance, classical pianist Myleene Klass accompanied the singers.
“As a musician and a mother, I feel privileged to be part of this campaign which has touched the hearts of us all,” Klass said. “Music has this amazing ability to lift the soul and make you feel proud and celebratory for all the things you have. So I hope that through the power of music we can inspire people with IPF to embrace living in the moment and continue to live their lives the best way in which they can.”