What the Month of Giving means to me as a PF community member

Philanthropy is important to the rare disease community

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by Samuel Kirton |

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Each month, Brad Dell, the director of community content at BioNews, the parent company of this website, curates a list of special days of recognition ranging from the whimsical to causes that have special meaning to both individuals and entire communities.

From the whimsical side of the December list, Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day is recognized on Dec. 8, and Cat Herders Day is Dec. 15.

On the more serious side, some weeks or individual days are dedicated to raising awareness about influenza vaccinations, people with disabilities, healthcare coverage, and more. December is also the Month of Giving. I would like to focus my first column of December on the Month of Giving.

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When I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in January 2017, it understandably came as a shock, particularly when I learned there was no effective therapy or cure. A lung transplant would extend my life, but receiving one meant trading the issues associated with IPF for the unique challenges of transplant. I decided to do it, and on July 10, 2021, I received a bilateral lung transplant.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I began to find ways to support the work of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF).


Philanthropy is important to the rare disease community and the organizations that support it. For example, the PFF is supported by fundraising walks, Broadway Belts, and individual gifts, which allow it to carry out advocacy work, provide educational resources, and contribute to important research.

There are other ways to participate in the Month of Giving. What about making a gift of your time and talents? You can start by taking inventory of your talents and available time and then see how you can apply them to a cause you are interested in supporting.

Are you familiar with passion fundraisers? The idea behind these is to turn something you enjoy doing into a fundraising opportunity. It doesn’t have to be complex. Several passion fundraisers I’ve been a part of were simple, such as hosting a happy hour.

The link above offers suggestions for types of events. If you decide to host one, think about what you can do to make it uniquely your own. When planning, consider whether you could execute the event on your own or whether you would need a partner.

Be mindful of the type of event you are hosting and ensure that it doesn’t violate any laws or require special permitting. Some states, for example, may regulate games of chance like raffles.

Each year, I lead a team called the Fibrosis Fighters at the PFF Walk in the Washington, D.C. area. At this year’s event, the Fibrosis Fighters ranked 28th among 261 teams across the U.S., in terms of fundraising. Forming a team to join one of the PFF Walks is another way you can contribute to the pursuit of a treatment or a cure for pulmonary fibrosis (PF).

If you are interested in hosting your own fundraiser with the PFF, please contact Jake Meding ([email protected]) or Alyssa Athens ([email protected]).

I continue to look for ways to support the foundation’s work so that future generations won’t have to think of PF as an incurable disease. It’s how I make every breath count.

What are your ideas for the Month of Giving? Please share in the comments below. 

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.


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