CPF Announces 2012 Awards for Distinguished Service

Sep 27, 2012, 14:20 ET from Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Awards Given for Research, Humanitarian and Advocacy Efforts

CULVER CITY, Calif., Sept. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) proudly announces the winners of its three annual awards for distinguished service.  Each honoree has made vital contributions to the effort to fight Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) – in research, humanitarian and advocacy efforts.  This year's recipients are Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) who is lead sponsor of PF legislation in the U.S. Senate and an outspoken supporter of PF patients, renowned PF researcher Andrew Tager, MD, and advocate and fundraiser, Tami Rippy.

Sen. Coons will receive the Charles G. Norwood Memorial Advocate of the Year Award.  The award recognizes an individual's outstanding commitment to improving awareness of PF in their community and furthering the mission of the CPF.  As lead sponsor for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Enhancement Act (S. 1350), Sen. Coons is a champion for PF and the patients who suffer from the devastating disease. 

"Pulmonary fibrosis affects far too many lives for us to know as little as we do about this heartbreaking disease," Senator Coons said. "I am humbled and honored by this award, and remain deeply committed to working with the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis to not only educate my colleagues in the Senate about the impact of this disease, but to pass the Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Enhancement Act. It's important work that I cannot do alone, though. It will take the continued passionate and dedicated advocacy of members of the Coalition to tell the stories of those lost to this disease and to earn the support we need to pass this bill. I am deeply grateful for this award, and for the continued friendship of those whose lives have been touched by pulmonary fibrosis."

"Senator Coons' leadership on the PF bill is steadfast and his commitment to the disease efforts and the thousands of people suffering from it is strong and unfaltering," said Mishka Michon, CEO of the CPF.  "His dedication to this cause makes him a perfect recipient of the CPF's Advocacy Award."

Dr. Tager is being awarded the Marvin I. Schwarz Research Award that recognizes a researcher's commitment to improve the quality of life of those living with PF through compassionate patient care, education and support, while leading research efforts to find a cure.  Dr. Tager was the recipient of one of the first CPF/American Thoracic Society partnership grants.

"Dr. Tager is a passionate researcher who really cares deeply about PF patients and families and is working hard to find a cure for PF," said Michon.  "His research efforts are recognized by many as being innovative and groundbreaking, something we need in this disease area to drive answers," Dr. Tager is Principal Investigator for the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, Assistant Professor, Pulmonary and Critical Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

As part of the award, the CPF will make a $15,000 grant to Dr. Tager's PF research lab.

"Our lab is dedicated to finding new strategies to treat PF, in order to develop effective therapies for patients and to ultimately cure this devastating disease.  The CPF believed in me and funded one of my earliest research projects when I was just starting my lab, and this project has opened up a promising new avenue for future PF drugs. I am enormously appreciative of the CPF's continued support of my lab's efforts to contribute to better understanding of this disease, and tremendously honored to be selected for this recognition, named for one of the greatest contributors to knowledge in our field," said Dr. Tager.

Tami Rippy, will receive the Francis Cabral Humanitarian Award for her efforts to raise awareness and funding for PF.  The award recognizes a patient or caregiver who significantly improves awareness of PF in their community and nationwide, who selflessly furthers the mission of the CPF, and who shines as a beacon of hope and inspiration to all those suffering from the disease.  Rippy, who lost her mother to PF, holds an annual walk for PF in Pittsburgh and joins the team of CPF advocates on Capitol Hill each year.  "Tami has so much passion and energy for this cause," said Michon.  "She is dedicated to the CPF's efforts to eradicate the disease that has caused her family so much pain."

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 26,000 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 www.coalitionforpf.org or call (888) 222-8541.

SOURCE Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis