Mar 12, 2015, 10:00 AM


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CHICAGO, March 12, 2015 – The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF), the leading provider of education and support for the pulmonary fibrosis (PF) community, today announced the expansion of the Leanne Storch Support Group Fund. The Fund will now offer additional and larger grants to those seeking to establish a support group or to those wanting to expand services for an existing support group. Pulmonary fibrosis is a collection of lung disorders (which includes idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) that are often difficult to diagnose and treat, and that are usually associated with survival rates of less than five years from the time of diagnosis.

“The PFF strongly believes that participating in a support group has a positive impact on the health and emotional wellbeing for both individuals and families living with pulmonary fibrosis,” said Patti Tuomey, President and Chief Operating Officer of the PFF. “We look forward to offering additional funding to members of the PF community who want to start new support groups, as well as further assisting established groups so that they will be able to offer more programs.”

Since its inception in 2012, the Leanne Storch Support Group Fund has provided assistance to numerous support groups around the country. The grants have been used to sponsor Global Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month activities and fund educational events, such as the free, semi-annual PF clinic in San Antonio. Many of these activities can increase disease awareness and allow patients, families, and physicians in the local community to learn more about this illness. In addition, the Fund assists the PFF Support Group Leader Network, which offers training and resources to support group leaders, and provides a forum for leaders to exchange ideas and discuss best practices. The expansion of the Leanne Storch Support Group Fund is made possible in part through generous funding from Boehringer Ingelheim.

To learn more about the Leanne Storch Support Group Fund or to apply for a grant, please visit the PFF website.

“The grant that we received last year from the Leanne Storch Support Group Fund was essential to restarting our group in the greater Dallas area,” said Cindi Brannum, leader of the Dallas Fort Worth Breathe Support Group. “As a PF patient myself, there was a clear need following the dissolution of our original group. The grant provided by the PFF allowed us to re-connect with the local PF community and share tips and information to help one another. The support group allows us to better manage this devastatingly complicated disease and helps us to live better.”
For more information on the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, or to make a donation, please visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org.

About the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
The mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is to serve as the trusted resource for the pulmonary fibrosis (PF) community by raising awareness, providing disease education, advancing care and funding research. The PFF collaborates with physicians, organizations, people with PF and caregivers worldwide. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Better Business Bureau accredited charity. The PFF Summit 2015: From Bench to Bedside, its third biennial international health care conference, will be held November 12-14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. For more information visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org or call 844.TalkPFF (844.825.5733) or +1 312.587.9272 from outside of the U.S.

About Leanne Storch
Leanne Storch was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in January 2003. With a desire to positively impact the pulmonary fibrosis community, she joined the PFF in 2004 and ultimately served as the Foundation's Executive Director from 2008 until 2010.  Over the years, Ms. Storch has provided countless hours to advocating on behalf of the pulmonary fibrosis community and providing support to individuals and families coping with a PF diagnosis.  Having recently undergone a lung transplant, Ms. Storch remains a dedicated champion for the PF community.

About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in which, over a period of time, lung tissue becomes thickened, stiff and scarred. The development of the scar tissue is called fibrosis. As the lung tissue becomes scarred and grows thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and other organs don’t receive enough oxygen. In some cases, doctors can determine the cause of the fibrosis, but in many cases, there is no known cause. When the cause of the fibrosis is unknown (and certain pathologic or radiographic criteria are met), the disease is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. There is no cure for IPF. Presently, there are two FDA-approved treatments for IPF in the U.S.

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