More than 1,000 patients, families, caregivers and healthcare professionals from 40 U.S. states participated in the event Sept. 9 to mark Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month.
The walk itself was in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. But simultaneously, virtual walks took place nationwide as well as in Australia, Belgium, France and Ireland.
A social media campaign using the hashtag #BlueUp4PF encouraged members of the PF community to wear blue to mark the walk and the awareness month. You can find memories of the event by clicking on the hashtag.
“We are extremely grateful to the pulmonary fibrosis community, our partners and sponsors, for giving the inaugural PFF Walk a phenomenal start,” Bill Schmidt, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s president and chief executive officer, 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.”
The U.S. Senate declared September Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month on Sept. 28, by unanimous consent. Christopher Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, and four other senators introduced the resolution.
A companion resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Erik Paulsen, a Republican from Minnesota, and Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee. Ten other Democrats and Republicans joined them in co-sponsoring it.
Pulmonary Fibrosis Advocates drafted the resolution, and helped recruit sponsors for it in both chambers.
Congress passed similar resolutions in 2015 and 2016. The three years in a row of such resolutions shows that Congress is aware of pulmonary fibrosis and is committed to increasing funding for its research. The resolutions also indicate that lawmakers appreciate healthcare professionals’ and researchers’ efforts, and the advocacy work done by patients, families, caregivers, and organizations.
PF is a fatal lung disease that affects around 200,000 people in the United States and causes more that 40,000 deaths a year. At the moment there is no cure for it.