Linda Biggs 5K for PF

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Benefiting Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Linda Biggs 5K for IPF - A Quest for Cure

Linda Biggs passed away from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis on March 21, 2009.  She was only 61 years old.  It took approximately one year for Liinda to be diagnosed.  IPF has such a subtle presentation that in 50% of the cases, patients are under-diagnosed or there is a delay in diagnosis.  It was ultimately a lung biopsy that determined she had this horrible disease.  Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) means lung (pulmonary) scarring (fibrosis).  There are many known causes of PF, but when the cause is unknown it is called "idiopathic" or in this case Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

From the beginning after she received her diagnosis, Linda was told that she would die, some patients living two years and some as long as five, but there was no known cause, no FDA approved treattment, and certainly no cure.  IPF compares to being slowly suffocated.  Bit by bit it robs you of your independence of your daily activities, eventually relying on oxygen 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Linda never smoked, which was what most people assumed when they saw her on oxygen.  Prolongation of life is only throught a lung transplant.  The need for an early transplant evaluation is crucial due to the potentially long waiting time on the transplant list combined with the progressive nature of the disease.

For those patients who qualify for the transplantation, 30% will succumb to their disease prior to transplantation.  This unforgiving disease took her life shortly after she had completed the required tests to be considered for a double lung transplant at Duke University.  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 nother to save her.

The Linda Biggs 5K for IPF - A Quest for a Cure has been planned by her family for two reasons.  First, it is imperative that research is intensified in order to find a successful treatment and ultimately a cure, and that education and public awareness becomes stronger as this disease continues to take so many lives.  The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (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.  Our family only learned of CPF after Linda's passing.  Now we want other patients and their families to know that CPF is an organization that they can turn to for that support.

The other reason for the Walk is in memory of Linda who fought a long and very hard battle but always maintained Hope!  She knew she had no control over her illness, but that she did have a choice regarding her attitude, and she chose to live as long as she could with Hope and a positive attitude.  Hope puts a smile on your face when your heart cannot manage.  Hope sustains you when nothing else can.  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!