Shipwatch Yacht & Tennis Club Hosts Tournament to Fight Fatal Lung Disease

Feb 23, 2012, 11:00 ET from Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Member Kitty Winterhalter Lopez Suffers from Pulmonary Fibrosis

LARGO, Fla., Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kitty Winterhalter Lopez has spent much of her life helping tennis tournaments become successful for the love of the game.  Now, her tennis club and friends are holding an event weekend that will allow others to show their love for her and others suffering from a deadly lung disease. Lopez was diagnosed six months ago with Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF), a disease with no FDA approved treatments and no cure. 

Shipwatch Yacht & Tennis Club, along with Lopez and her friends, are hosting Breathe On, An Awareness Campaign and Fun(d)raiser For Pulmonary Fibrosis  on March 23 and 24, 2012 with proceeds benefitting the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) in its work to support patients and find a cure. 

"We are working closely with the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, which has been tremendously successful holding events all across the country to raise awareness of Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) and is a key national voice for the ever expanding population diagnosed with this 100 percent fatal disease," said Lopez.   "Like most patients, I was stunned to find I was suffering from this disease, especially as I have been an athlete my entire life."

The two-day event will feature a dinner, dance and silent auction on March 23rd, and a game day including tennis in which participants can play with the pros, bocce ball and a luncheon on March 24th.  The cost is $50 per person for the dinner, dance and auction and $35 per person for the tennis/bocce ball and lunch.  Tickets may be purchased online at  Online registration ends March 20th. 

Lopez, who lives in the Shipwatch Yacht & Tennis Club community, isn't the only resident suffering from the deadly lung disease, there are at least two other people diagnosed with PF who live there. 

"The truth is that the number of patients is increasing by at least 156% each year and the baby-boomer population will suffer even greater losses than in the past.  None of us is safe from the disease, but if we fight for answers together, we may be able to save thousands of lives within the next few years," said Lopez.

PF is a lethal lung disease.  It causes uncontrollable and relentless scarring in the lungs, rendering them stiff and unable to exchange vital blood oxygen.  There are no FDA approved treatments for the disease that claims 40,000 lives a year, the same as breast cancer.

"We are so grateful to Kitty and the Shipwatch Yacht & Tennis Club, their members and the community for helping increase awareness around PF.  It takes a passionate person like Kitty to help give a voice to the many patients who can't speak for themselves," said Mishka Michon, CEO of the CPF.

Without a lung transplant, Lopez likely has a short time to live.  Most patients die within three years of diagnosis.  Her community in Largo is located near Seminole, Florida.  Seminole's mayor received a successful lung transplant for PF just a few years ago.  Lopez is hopeful that she may get the same chance.  If she gets it in time, she'll be one of the small number of patients who survive the disease.  Her brother received a successful lung transplant for the same disease nine years ago.

To learn more about what you can do to help Kitty and patients like her, visit the CPF website at, email at or call 1-888-222-8541.

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©(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 'PF's nonprofit partners include many of the most respected medical centers and healthcare organizations in the U.S. With more than 24,000 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