Contact: Gary Bain (816/452-3132)
Emphysema Patient Foundation to Rally on Capitol Hill May 7
Dallas, TX (April 27, 2001) -- The Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive (EFFORTS) will be on Capitol Hill next week drawing much-needed attention to a disease that kills about 110,000 people every year, the fourth leading cause of death in this country. The group's second annual Washington, D.C. Rally will convene on the Capitol's West Terrace from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. May 7, 2001.
EFFORTS is a free internet support and activist group formed in 1998 by people of all ages and from all parts of the world who have emphysema or other related lung disease. The group is self-supporting and does not solicit or accept funds for their activities.
The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and other healthcare groups will join the patient foundation in support of their cause. "The AARC appreciates the opportunity to be involved with the EFFORTS rally again this year. We believe strongly in their goal to increase awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, like emphysema," said Jill Eicher, AARC director government affairs. "What's more," she continued, "it is time lawmakers understood that research funding for this disease is sorely lacking considering the devastation it causes to millions of Americans."
Supporters of their cause, members of EFFORTS, and invited legislators will attend the rally. Many emphysema patients will have oxygen tanks in tow because their diseases have progressed to the point that they cannot get enough oxygen on their own. These emphysema patients will meet with more than twenty legislators or their representatives who have confirmed they will attend the event.
EFFORTS President Gary Bain said a primary point of discussion will be the need for increasing research funds for the disease. "Historically, National Institutes of Health funding for COPD research has been exceedingly small in comparison to other diseases," he said. "In fact, the National Academy of Sciences found that research spending per death was far lower for COPD than for seven other less prevalent diseases. It is crucial for that disparity to be made right," said Bain.
The American Thoracic Society estimates there could be as many as 35 million Americans with COPD today, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology warned in March 2000 that COPD is the only major disease whose death rate continues to rise. Death rates for other major diseases have been steadily declining, however. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the death rate for heart disease fell by nearly 35% between 1979 and 1997. However, during the same period death rates for lung diseases rose by more than 16%. National projections through the year 2006 predict continued escalation in COPD morbidity and mortality rates.
Rally speakers will be Dr. Jeff Glassroth, Past President American Thoracic Society;
Dr. Walter Talbot, American Cancer Society; Dr. Ron Karpick, American Lung Association; Jill Eicher, American Association for Respiratory Care; Nancy Buelow and Gayle Allison, Alpha One, National; Ann Marie Benzinger, Lung Transplant Recipient; and Robert Fary, Vice President Apria Healthcare
The following legislators have declared their support of the EFFORTS Rally:
1. Senator Richard Shelby, Alabama
2. Senator Mike DeWine, Ohio
3. Congressman Spencer Bachus, Alabama
4. Representative Michael Oxley, Ohio
5. Congressman John Oliver, Massachusetts
6. Senator George Voinovich, Ohio
7. Representative Betty McCollum, Minnesota
8. Senator Allen, Virginia
9. Senator Durbin-Illinois
10. Senator Charles Taylor, North Carolina
11. Senator Jesse Helms, North Carolina
12. Congressman Wicker, Mississippi
13. Senator McConnell (Jeremy Rice), Kentucky
14. Congressman Pomeroy, North Dakota
15. Congressman Mike Ferguson, New Jersey
16. Senator Kyle, Arizona
17. Senator Charles Taylor (J. Martin), North Carolina
18. Congressman Oliver (Suzy Dumont), Massachusetts
19. Congressman Brad Carson, Oklahoma
20. Senator Miller (Lane Church), Georgia
21. Senator Mark Dayton, Minnesota