PFF Insights

Unsung Heroes: The Journey of Two Champions for the PF Community

by Jamie Hillner - Director, Volunteer Programs and Advocacy
April 24, 2024

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month, and we're honoring two remarkable Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) volunteers, Sharon and Patricia. Their dedication and passion are making a significant impact on the PF community nationwide. Meet Sharon and Patricia: Champions for the PF Community:

Sharon’s Story: The power of support groups and speaking out

After her husband Ron's late-stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) diagnosis in 2019, Sharon became a pillar of support for him. Together, they found strength in their local Montgomery, Alabama support group. The two remained as active as possible through Ron’s journey with IPF. Now, Sharon carries on Ron's legacy by continuing to remain active with the support group and advocating for the PF community through PFF Hill Day.

Support groups can be one of the most meaningful resources for people who have been affected by PF. Connecting with others facing similar experiences can improve emotional well-being and have a positive impact on health. Alongside patients themselves, the groups can be a valuable source of encouragement and inspiration for caregivers, family members, and friends. Like Sharon, you can make a difference by joining a local in-person or virtual support group.

Through Hill Day, you can speak out about pulmonary fibrosis by joining the PFF Advocates. PFF Advocates, like Sharon, regularly contact their members of Congress and other officials to advocate for issues of importance to the community. As a member of the PFF Advocates, you will receive alerts when there is an important advocacy issue. The PFF will provide an easy online platform for reaching out to your members of Congress. You will also receive notification of the PFF’s annual Hill Day and of any other PFF advocacy events. Use this form to join the PFF Advocates!

Patricia’s Story: Walking to support patients everywhere

During her own journey of living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Patricia discovered the PFF and became a proactive advocate. She joined a virtual support group, formed a fundraising team called the Golden Gate Lungsters and joined the PFF Walk - Bay Area. Her leadership led them to become the highest fundraising team in the country! Patricia is a member of the PFF development committee and a PFF Ambassador in the Class of 2023. 

The PFF Walk unites all impacted by pulmonary fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and provides a special opportunity to raise funds, build awareness, and make a meaningful impact on those affected by the disease. Like Patricia, you have the power to create a world without pulmonary fibrosis!

Funds raised by the PFF Walk support our efforts to accelerate research, advance improved care for those living with the disease, and provide unequaled support and education resources for the PF community. Whether you live with PF, have received a lung transplant, or are a caregiver, family member, friend, or healthcare professional, the PFF Walk celebrates you and your work toward our collective goal: a cure for pulmonary fibrosis. Learn more and register today for the PFF Walk!

Get Involved and Make a Difference

Sharon and Patricia's stories inspire us to take action. No matter your skills or experience, there’s a place for you. Volunteering can be incredibly rewarding and every effort counts. “The fact is, nothing will be done if somebody doesn’t do it,” says Sharon. Here are some ways you can get involved.

  •  Find your path

What excites you? Raising awareness? Supporting others? The PFF offers many opportunities to make a real difference in the search for a cure for PF. As Patricia says, “It doesn't matter how much volunteering you do, but do something. It will make you feel better, and it will make a difference in many people's lives.”

  • Connect with the PFF

The PFF is your partner in volunteering. They offer guidance, support, and community. Together, we can make a powerful impact. “There's a magic thread that runs from the PFF to everyone impacted by PF in our community. We're all here fighting for the same thing,” says Patricia.

  • Give and Get Support

The PF community is a source of strength. Connect with others who understand your journey. Offer your support and receive theirs in return. “We all help each other,” says Sharon. “It makes this journey less of a struggle.”

  • Keep Your Loved One’s Legacy Alive

Like Sharon, you can keep your loved one's memory alive by advocating for the PF community. Sharing your story can inspire others and bring us closer to a cure.

  • Take the First Step

Whether you are interested in joining a support group or leading one of your own, advocating for the PF community to your members of Congress, supporting research through the PFF Community Registry, becoming a PFF Ambassador, developing your own Team PFF fundraising event or attending one of the PFF Walks, these are just a few of the opportunities to engage with the Foundation and the PF community as a volunteer. Today’s the day to extend your impact by becoming a PFF volunteer.

Inspired by Sharon and Patricia? Ready to make a difference? Learn more about volunteer opportunities right here on our website!  At the top of our page in the navigation, you’ll find the Get Involved section where you can browse through all of our volunteer opportunities