S.C. Woman Raises Awareness for Lethal Lung Disease That Claimed Her Mother-in-Law's Life

Oct 11, 2011, 09:30 ET from Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis

The First Annual Linda Biggs 5K Walk/Run, Quest for Cure is Saturday, October 15th

LEXINGTON, S.C., Oct. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A S.C. woman is holding a 5K in Lexington to raise awareness of lung disease that claimed her mother-in-law's life just a couple of years ago.  Kathy Biggs, a licensed physician therapist, saw her mother-in-law suffer from Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF), a disease that scars the lungs and suffocates its victims.  There was nothing even she, a medical professional, could do to help her.  There is no FDA approved treatment and no cure for PF.

"We felt really helpless," said Kathy Biggs.  "My husband and I wanted so much to help his mother breathe but at the end, not even the supplemental oxygen could  help her."  With PF, the lungs become so scarred that they cannot make the necessary blood-oxygen exchange necessary to breathe.  

An avid runner, Biggs is holding the first annual Linda Biggs 5K Walk/Run to raise awareness of the disease and to pay tribute to her late mother-in-law.  She recently joined a new group called Daughters of PF, which is part of the efforts of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) and inspires daughters and other family members to turn their grief and pain into action by holding awareness and fundraising efforts in their local areas.  To learn more about Daughters of PF, visit www.coalitionforpf.org.  

The event will be held at the Irmo End of Lake Murray Dam in Lexington on Saturday, October 15, 2011, and will benefit the CPF.

"We are honored that the Biggs family is so involved in the cause and is helping the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis help families like theirs.  Their efforts will not only build awareness and find treatments, but will pay tribute to an incredible woman who was lost to the disease," said Mishka Michon, CEO of the CPF.  

The Biggs family, placed billboard ads across the state of S.C. this summer to raise awareness of PF and did so on their own dime.  "We really want to get the word out far and wide about this devastating disease and help others get diagnosed early," said Biggs.  "Linda was misdiagnosed for over a year – typical for PF patients – and it may have cost her her life."  Linda Biggs was being evaluated at Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C. when she took a turn for the worse.  The disease took her life shortly after she had completed the required tests to be considered for a double lung transplant at Duke.

"The last few days of her life were spent on the Hospice wing of a hospital surrounded by the people who loved her so much but could do nothing to save her," said Biggs.  Linda Biggs died March 21, 2009 at the age of 61.  Transplant is the only way to survive PF but only one percent of PF patients receive them.

"It is imperative that research is intensified in order to find successful treatment and ultimately a cure, and that education and public awareness become stronger as this disease continues to take so many lives," said Biggs.  "The CPF raises funds through events such as this one, to support cutting-edge research. The CPF also provides a much needed place for patients and their families to turn to for support and understanding. We want other patients and their families to know that CPF is an organization that they can turn to for that support."

"Hope gives you courage when you tell yourself you'd rather give in. Everyone should always be given Hope and Linda's family wants to be a part of generating Hope to the many patients and families suffering from this very unforgiving disease," said Biggs.

What: Linda Biggs 5K Walk/Run for IPF – A Quest for Cure
When: Saturday, October 15Lexington, S.C.
Registration Opens at 8:30 A.M., Walk/Run Start at 9 A.M.

Where: Lake Murray Dam (Irmo end)

Registration fee: $15

Contact:  To register or for more information, visit www.coalitionforpf.org or call 888.222.8541, ext. 704 or contact Kathy Biggs at kathylbiggs@hotmail.com.  

If you're unable to attend or participate in the 5K Run/Walk, you can still give via the Biggs fundraising page at:http://www.firstgiving.com/coalitionforpf/linda-biggs-5k-for-pf

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

SOURCE Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis