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Former Utah Governor to Talk About Her Battle With PF on ABC 4 Salt Lake City, July 22nd
Date:7/16/2009

Governor Walker to join University of Utah doctor on "Good Things Utah"

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Olene Walker has been interviewed by hundreds of reporters in her role as a politician, but an interview later this month will likely be the most compelling from the former Utah governor. Governor Walker, who served as Utah's governor from 2003 to 2005, will be sharing her personal struggle with a fatal lung disease.

Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF), a disease that will likely claim her life, has no known cause and no cure, and little name recognition outside of the patients and families who are affected. In an effort to change that, Gov. Walker will be appearing on ABC 4 Salt Lake City's Good Things Utah show on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 along with PF researcher and physician, Mary Beth Scholand, M.D. of the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Gov. Walker hopes her appearance on Good Things Utah will help inform people about PF, the severity of the diagnosis and the urgent need for treatments, though there may not be one in time to save her life.

"I am fighting for my life and the lives of so many others who are suffering from this horrible disease," said Olene Walker. "I am lucky to still be here and to be able to be a voice for so many who are struggling to breathe."

PF affects 128,000 Americans and claims 40,000 lives each year, the same as breast cancer. On average, patients live less than three years after diagnosis with the lung disease that is characterized by progressive and irreversible lung scarring.

"We are so thankful to Governor Walker for being willing to tell her story and allow the people of Utah and across the country to see this part of her life," said Mishka Michon, the CPF's CEO. "Her help in generating awareness and her efforts to help secure federal funding for PF are invaluable to our making critical progress in this disease."

Gov. Walker is an outspoken advocate for other PF patients and a strong supporter of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF). Gov. Walker participated in the CPF's National PF Awareness Week in 2008 when she met with many of her former political colleagues to share her personal perspective about the need to find answers to PF. Her current efforts include advocacy work with Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in support of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 1079). This is the first request for a PF research funding bill ever introduced in Congress on behalf of the disease. The Governor's efforts have also helped create support for the Senate version of the bill that may soon be introduced.

She recorded a public service announcement (PSA) that is planned for release later this summer in which the Governor makes a plea for increased attention and funding for PF through support of the CPF.

Gov. Walker and Dr. Scholand are scheduled to appear on July 22 on Good Things Utah during its airtime from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. MDT.

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(c)(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 19,000 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.


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SOURCE Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis
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