Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month Honors Those Touched by PF

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by Hawken Miller |

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September is Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) Awareness Month, and organizations across the globe are doing their part to bring more public education to the rare lung disease that affects more than 250,000 people in the U.S.

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is spearheading the U.S. efforts with its theme “Growing Stronger,” and a program sponsored by Alliance Rx Walgreens Prime. Throughout the month, the nonprofit is encouraging individuals to create personalized fundraising campaigns and join its Team PFF network of volunteers.

The aim is to raise awareness — given that “a vast majority (86%) of Americans are unaware of PF symptoms such as fatigue, a severe, dry cough, and shortness of breath,” the PFF said in a press release, citing the results of a national survey done in 2020.

“Because pulmonary fibrosis is under recognized, it can take over two years for many patients to get a definitive diagnosis,” said William Schmidt, president and CEO of PFF.

“Educating at-risk individuals and the general public about pulmonary fibrosis is essential to help patients receive more timely and accurate diagnoses, and that is our focus not only in September, but every day,” Schmidt said.

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Individual Actions That Can Generate Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness

On Sept. 25, the PFF will host its national walk day, titled “One Step Closer to a World Without Pulmonary Fibrosis.” To get involved, people can register, start a fundraising campaign, and walk whatever distance on that date. Starting at 4 p.m. CST, the PFF will stream the festivities on its Facebook page and YouTube channel.

PFF supporters are encouraged to create their own custom fundraising page or an event, such as a community walk, athletic challenge, or workplace activity, with proceeds going to the foundation.

Additionally, every day in September, the PFF will share medical facts about the disease on its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also on social media, in a Facebook series, the PFF will share stories — “Portraits of PF” — from patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals affected by the disease. Interested individuals can submit testimony through the organization’s website.

Using the hashtags #PFMonth and #BlueUp4PF alongside photos showing off blue clothing or PFF Breathe Bracelets also are encouraged. Some advocates in past years have either worn blue wigs or dyed their hair with the foundation’s official color. Facebook frames and Zoom backgrounds also are available to download.

Buildings around the U.S. will be lit up in blue for Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, and forms to request building management to do so are available on the PFF website.

Elsewhere in the world, the U.K.-based organization Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis is encouraging individuals to support the 70,000 people affected by the disease in that country. The organization has put together stories of people impacted by PF and information guides about the disease.

Thousands of miles away on the other side of the equator, the Lung Foundation Australia, which funds research and support services in that nation, also is participating in PF Awareness Month. It has a promotional pack for people to post alongside their supportive social media posts. The foundation also is asking people to share their own stories through its PF Heroes for Hope initiative.

Pulmonary Fibrosis News also is running a “30 Days of PF” series throughout the month. Each day in September, a different member of the PF community — patients, caregivers, family members, and others — will share their journey and unique insight into living with the disease. The narratives are posted on the website, and on its Facebook and Instagram pages.

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