When I sat down to write this letter to you, COVID-19 was not on the radar. Now it is a critically important factor in my life. My wife, Shelly, and I cannot risk leaving our house. The coronavirus is having a significant impact on the lives of all Canadians, and those living with lung disease, like me, are at much greater risk. We are hoping that you and your families are safe and healthy during this most trying time. We know that our safety depends on you and we so much appreciate the care and attention that you and your families are participating in to try to keep everyone safe. Now let me tell you a little about me.
I met my sweetheart in the summer of 1973, on a blind date that didn’t go so well. She laughed me right out of the room.
But I didn’t let that stop me! One year later I took out a loan to buy her a ring. People told us we were too opposite, but after 45 years of marriage and only one big spat (over wallpapering), we have two beautiful daughters and three wonderful grandchildren.
My sweetheart and my family mean the world to me. They’re my greatest inspiration in the battle I’m waging right now. It’s a battle that people like you also help me fight.
You see, it was a shock to learn that I have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). As someone who has been an avid sports player all my life, the diagnosis seemed to come from out of the blue. In fact, it was just a cough that brought me to the doctor’s office.
IPF creates scarring of the lungs. No one knows why, but the scarring prevents the lungs from taking in enough oxygen, making it hard to breathe. Over time, the scarring only worsens. There is no cure, but my treatment helps to slow progression.
I’m writing today because The Lung Association is a lifeline for people like me. And that’s thanks to the donations of people like you. So please give what you can today to ensure research, patient support and new cures can create a brighter future.
For me, it was crucial to find information about my disease online and through forums, and to have the warmth and encouragement of our Edmonton IPF support group.
That’s why I’m a volunteer spokesperson for The Lung Association.
Sharing my story and the stories of people with the many forms of lung disease is so important, because one in five Canadians deal with lung disease … fighting for every breath. It can happen to anyone, and the results can be devastating.
But together, we can make a difference.
Together, we can help fund vital research to find the causes of lung disease, improve and personalize treatments … and to find cures.
Together, we can empower patients and their families so they can live lives to the fullest, without the worry of fighting to breathe.
While there is no cure for IPF today, there could be one on the horizon. The medications that help slow the progression have come about because people like you fund scientists who go to work on a daily basis, on our behalf, to make lifesaving advances.
So I’m doing everything I can to back that research.
I’ve even climbed mountains to raise funds, up to an altitude of 7,700 feet, checking my oxygen levels every ten or fifteen minutes along the way.
I’m not allowed to do that anymore. But I can still feel proud to help fund lifesaving advances in lung disease in other ways. Like talking to you.
You can help spread the word about lung disease, and also gain more support for yourself and your family by joining The Lung Association’s Facebook group at
@lungassociationabnwt or visit www.ab.lung.ca to try to reduce feelings of isolation during this crucial time.
So please accept my invitation to join my sweetheart and me by supporting The Lung Association this spring. Thank you for helping countless Canadians breathe easier.
Dave and Shelly Rasmussen
P.S. Thanks again for doing your part to keep yourself, your families and communities healthy and safe during this very difficult time.