Daughter Fights Disease That is Killing Her Mother

Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis logo

NEW YORK, May 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Most daughters buy their mothers perfume, flowers or candy for Mother's Day. Heather Darcy is working to save her mother's life – and the lives of many others like her by raising awareness and funding for the lung disease that could kill her mother at any time.

For the last eight years, Heather and her mother, Elizabeth Darcy, have joined the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) on and off Capitol Hill to raise awareness of PF and help give faces to the deadly disease and the destruction it wreaks on its victims and their families with a virtual 100 percent mortality rate.

Elizabeth is undergoing tests that will soon decide whether she could be one of the few survivors of Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) via lung transplant. Of the approximately 700,000 people who have died from the disease in the last 15 years in the United States, less than 10,000 have received lung transplants.

"I can't sit back and do nothing," said Heather Darcy of Louisville, KY. "My mom is my best friend. I will do anything and everything to try and stop this disease in her honor and with hopes that she'll be one of the few survivors."

Elizabeth, 64, has been suffering from PF for eight years now – longer than the typical life expectancy of just 2.8 years for the deadly lung disease characterized by progressive, relentless and deadly scarring. Most people have never heard of the disease that causes her to gasp for air, cough uncontrollably and to be so short of breath walking is a struggle.

While her mother fights the disease directly, Heather fights it with a growing army of women who share her commitment and passion for the cause and are part of a new program called Daughters of PF. The more than 300 women in the program work to raise awareness of the disease by sharing their stories and the stories of moms and dads lost to PF or suffering from it and by holding local events across the nation. Actress Rose McGowan is the Chair of the Daughters of PF program.

"I just want to spend time with my family and to be able to breathe without an oxygen tank. I want to be there for my children as any mum would," said Elizabeth Darcy, who speaks with a thick Scottish accent, though she has been living in the U.S. for 36 years.

As many people die each year to Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) as to breast cancer but if you asked the average person about it, they won't recognize the disease – unless they are one of the growing numbers of people who have been diagnosed with PF or know someone who has.

"We have been so fortunate to have the help of two incredible women who personify an amazing mother-daughter relationship. Combined with their fight against Pulmonary Fibrosis, they have been wonderful models for our advocacy efforts," said Mishka Michon, Chief Executive Officer of the CPF.

The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis works on a national scale to support research for a cure and to assist patients. For information or to support this important work, please contact the CPF at 1-888-222-8541, or visit www.coalitionforpf.org or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

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 501C(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 26,000 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.

CONTACT: Teresa Barnes tbarnes@coalitionforpf.org

Source:Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis(CPF)