Arizona Man on a Mission to Spread Word, Help Cure Disease That Threatens Him

Dec 08, 2010, 16:40 ET from Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary Fibrosis Claims as Many Lives Each Year as Breast Cancer, Yet Virtually Unknown

PEORIA, Ariz., Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Elliot Walsey is on a mission to save others who suffer from the disease that will likely kill him.  He was diagnosed September 2006 with pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a deadly lung disease that has no FDA approved treatment and no cure.  The disease, characterized by uncontrolled and lethal scarring, is virtually unknown to the general population, even though as many people die each year to PF as to breast cancer.

This weekend, Walsey and his wife, Joan, will host the first 5K Walk for Pulmonary Fibrosis in Peoria.  Ironically, one of the most difficult things for Walsey and other PF patients to do is to walk because of extreme shortness of breath. The walk will benefit the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF).

"We are impressed by Mr. Walsey's strength, determination and courage," said Mishka Michon, CEO of the CPF. "We are so thankful to him and his family for helping increase awareness of PF and support the efforts of the CPF."  The CPF is the largest non-profit dedicated to helping patients who suffer from PF and working to find treatments and a cure.

"I will fight 'til my last breath to help other victims suffering with this devastating disease," Elliot Walsey said.  

What: 5K Walk for Pulmonary Fibrosis-Peoria, AZ

When: Saturday, December 11, 2010, 8:00 a.m. Sign-In; 9:00 a.m. Walk

Where: Trilogy at Vistancia, 27980 N. Trilogy Blvd; Peoria, AZ 85383, Meet at Fitness Lobby

Contact: at walk location: 1-800-903-9721

Fee:  $25 Registration; includes Breakfast, Bracelet.  Prizes will be given away.

The 72-year-old Peoria resident was diagnosed at National Jewish Institute of Lung Disease in Scottsdale.  His only symptoms were shortness of breath and an annoying cough.  After multiple medical tests including a high resolution CT scan, it was revealed that what Walsey had was worse than his biggest fear.  "I was afraid I had lung cancer," he said.  "As it turns out, this disease is even worse than that."  PF has no treatments, unlike lung cancer which has many chemotherapy and radiation treatments available, even though survival from it is extremely low.  With PF, there are no survivors except for the one percent who are saved each year due to a successful lung transplant.

Walsey is not a candidate for lung transplant.  "Whatever degree of success I and others like me are able to achieve will probably have little effect for me.  Having said that, there are the existing 128,000 (a very conservative figure) and 48,000 new cases every year," he said. "I'd sure like to do something to give those people an opportunity to survive beyond the present window that exists." 

If you're unable to attend or participate in the walk, you can still give via the Walseys' fundraising page:

About Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF)

Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a lung disorder characterized by a progressive scarring – known as fibrosis -- and deterioration of the lungs, which slowly robs its victims of their ability to breathe. Approximately 128,000 Americans suffer from PF, and there is currently no known cause or cure. An estimated 48,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. PF is difficult to diagnose and an estimated two-thirds of patients die within five years of diagnosis.  Sometimes PF can be linked to a particular cause, such as certain environmental exposures, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, residual infection, or autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis. However, in many instances, no known cause can be established. When this is the case, it is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

About the CPF

The CPF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 2001 to accelerate research efforts leading to a cure for pulmonary fibrosis (PF), while educating, supporting, and advocating for the community of patients, families, and medical professionals fighting this disease. The CPF funds promising research into new approaches to treat and cure PF; provides patients and families with comprehensive education materials, resources, and hope; serves as a voice for national advocacy of PF issues; and works to improve awareness of PF in the medical community as well as the general public. The CPF's nonprofit partners include many of the most respected medical centers and healthcare organizations in the U.S. With more than 23,000 members nationwide, the CPF is the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to advocating for those with PF. For more information please visit or call (888) 222-8541.

SOURCE Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis