Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation's Global Dinner Raises Funds and Awareness For The Fight Against Pulmonary Fibrosis

Oct 17, 2012, 17:02 ET from The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

Breathe Benefit 2012 Honors Co-Founder and Acknowledges Grant Recipients

CHICAGO, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation's (PFF) annual dinner, Breathe Benefit 2012: Community Inspiring a Cure, was held on Saturday, October 13, 2012, and raised over $150,000. The money will be used to support the goals of the Foundation's mission which include finding a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), advocating for the pulmonary fibrosis (PF) community, promoting disease awareness, and providing a compassionate environment for patients and their families.

In order to include the national and international pulmonary fibrosis community, the Foundation coordinated "Global Dinners" and other fundraising events throughout the world. Over 25 "Global Dinners" were held across the United States and in the European Union. "These events fostered a greater sense of community with our patients, families, and friends while recognizing the efforts of those who work tirelessly to support the Foundation's mission," stated Patti Tuomey, Chief Operating Officer. "We thank everyone who participated in the Breathe Benefit 2012 in Chicago and around the world."

The Drake Hotel's Grand Ballroom was the setting for the inspirational Chicago Dinner. Over 240 individuals attended the event. Dinner guests included patients, caregivers, family members, researchers, medical professionals, and other valued supporters of the PFF. For the second year, the Foundation was honored to have Mary Ann Ahern from NBC5 News emcee the evening.  She and her husband Tom Ahern also served as honorary chairs for the event. Co-chairs of the dinner were Kathy Petrak and Chuck Lawless. "I'm honored to have co-chaired the PFF's Breathe Benefit this year with my good friend Kathy Petrak," said Chuck Lawless of Mesirow Financial. "It's been eye-opening to meet the patients and families and learn about my own personal friends and clients who have family members afflicted with this disease." Kathy Petrak, longtime friend of the Foundation who has held many successful fundraisers for the PFF, said about the evening, "We are grateful for the support and hard work of so many people in making the Breathe Benefit 2012 a tremendous success. We would like to thank the honorary chairs, the dinner committee, and silent auction donors for their time and generosity." 

The evening featured a special photographic tribute to one of the Foundation's founders, I.M. Rosenzweig, Ph.D. His daughter, Karen Schwartz, and the PFF's President and CEO, Daniel M. Rose, MD, provided a touching and moving remembrance of Dr. Rosenzweig. Mike, as he was known to most, lost his courageous battle to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on June 23, 2012.23 Dr. Rosenzweig and his brother Albert Rose, both having been diagnosed with the disease and previously having lost a sister to IPF, started the Foundation in September of 2000. Albert Rose succumbed to IPF in 2002. Dr. Rosenzweig tirelessly led the Foundation until progression of his disease forced him to retire in 2009. In recognition of Dr. Rosenzweig and his dedication to funding research, the Young Investigator Awards have been re-named in his honor.

The Foundation presented awards to recognize significant contributions to the PF community. Longstanding Foundation advocate, Charles P. McQuaid, was given the "Legacy Award" for his continued guidance and support of the Foundation's mission. Booz Allen Hamilton was honored with the "Impact Award" for generously lending staff time and expertise in helping develop a business plan for the creation and implementation of a Care Center Network and Pulmonary Fibrosis Patient Registry. Carl Salzano, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton and member of the PFF's Board of Directors, accepted the award on behalf of his company. Daniel M. Rose, MD, noting the award recipients said, "The Foundation is thankful to have the opportunity to honor Mr. McQuaid and Booz Allen Hamilton. Their support and commitment to our mission has been instrumental in making the Foundation the leading pulmonary fibrosis patient advocacy organization in the world and in positioning us for even greater impact and reach."

The evening's program also recognized the 2012 PFF Research Fund's award recipients.  The awards were presented by Kevin K. Brown, MD, member of the Foundation's Board of Directors and chairman of the Medical Advisory Board.  The I.M. Rosenzweig Young Investigator Awards were presented to Haitao (Mark) Ji, Ph.D., and to Rebecca Keith, MD. Established Investigator Awards were presented to James S. Hagood, MD, and Glenn Rosen, MD.  The Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support from InterMune, Inc. (Brisbane, CA) for funding an I.M. Rosenzweig Young Investigator Award and to Boehringer Ingelheim (Ridgefield, CT) for funding the Established Investigator Award.  Additionally, the Foundation announced the six recipients of the 2012 Leanne Storch Support Group Fund grants.

Adding to the excitement of the evening were the emotional, personal stories told by award-winning Broadway actress and devoted PFF advocate Julie Halston and her husband, broadcaster Ralph Howard, a PF patient and lung transplant recipient. The couple, after being touched by the disease a second time when they lost a close friend to PF, Broadway critic Michael Kuchwara, now organize a PFF signature event, Broadway Belts for PFF! The event has raised over $90,000 in its first two years; the next Broadway Belts for PFF! will be held on February 25, 2013.

"On behalf of the Foundation and the PF community I would like to thank the individual and corporate sponsors for their generosity," stated Daniel M. Rose, MD. Sponsors included: Alan and Pam Schwed; Boehringer Ingelheim; BSGI; The Buchanan Family; Chuck and Jennifer Lawless; Chuck and Monica McQuaid; The Culliton-Metzger Family; Daniel M. Rose, MD; Don Luken and Friends; Jennifer A. Galvin, MD; Jenny H. Krauss and Otto F. Krauss Charitable Foundation Trust; John Hancock; Lawless Advisory Group at Mesirow Financial; Mark Fuller and Family; Manny and Brian Millman, Shelle Jewelers; The McMahon Family; Michael P. Savoca Memorial Foundation; Panoplos Advisory Group at Mesirow Financial; Patti Tuomey and Chris Martin; The Petrak Family in Memory of Bill Pacella; Petrak Industries; Phyllis N. Demont; Rick and Krista Meyers; RS Family Trust, DTD; Sandra Kully; Trey Schwab; University of Wisconsin Health; and the University of Wisconsin Transplant Program. 

About the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
The mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is to help find a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), advocate for the pulmonary fibrosis community, promote disease awareness, and provide a compassionate environment for patients and their families. The PFF collaborates with physicians, organizations, patients, and caregivers worldwide. December 1-3, 2011 the PFF hosted its first biennial international scientific conference, IPF Summit 2011: From Bench to Bedside, in Chicago; PFF Summit 2013 will be held December 5–7, 2013. For more information visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org or call 888.733.6741.

About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in which over a period of time the lung tissue becomes thickened, stiff, and scarred. The development of the scar tissue is called fibrosis. As the lung tissue becomes scarred and thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and other organs don't receive the oxygen they need. In some cases, doctors can determine the cause of the fibrosis, but in most cases, there is not a known cause. When there is no known etiology for the fibrosis (and certain pathologic or radiographic criteria are met), the disease is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. IPF affects approximately 200,000 individuals in the United States (US), and 138,000 individuals in the European Union (EU). The annual mortality is estimated to be 40,000 in the US alone, with an average survival of 2–3 years following diagnosis.  There is no cure for IPF. There is no FDA-approved treatment for IPF in the US and limited therapeutic options available for individuals with mild-to-moderate IPF in the EU, Canada, and Asia.

Cara Schillinger
Associate Vice President, Communications and Marketing

SOURCE The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation