June 27, 2012
Carrying on the legacy of a family member who is stricken with a severe, life-limiting respiratory illness can now earn students the opportunity for a post-secondary educational scholarship. InterMune Canada, Inc. is proud to announce the launch of the InterMune IPF Legacy Scholarship Program. In 2012, the InterMune IPF Legacy Scholarship will award five (5) one-time scholarships of up to $2,500 each to students with a family member living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
Approximately 5,000 to 9,000 Canadians live with IPF, a progressive and fatal form of lung disease. Often permanently attached to an oxygen tank, patients depend heavily on their family to accomplish daily tasks. IPF affects not only the patient, but the entire family unit, potentially draining the family, both mentally and economically. With limited support, this burden may cascade onto family members pursuing higher education.
The IPF Legacy Scholarship program highlights the legacy that is left by IPF patients, while encouraging their family members to achieve higher education.
"IPF is a disease which reaches far beyond just the individual diagnosed. Caregivers play a critical role in the quality of life of an IPF patient," shares Dr. Charlene Fell, respirologist at the University of Calgary and chair of the InterMune IPF Legacy Scholarship selection committee. "The family devotes a significant amount of time and resources toward caring for the patient, which leaves less time for other activities. That is why the InterMune IPF Legacy Scholarship is so valuable to the IPF community - it will truly make an impact on the whole family, allowing students to reach their educational goals while carrying on the legacy of their parent or grandparent."
The scholarships will be awarded based on applications detailing how and why the university, college or trade school student plans to carry on the legacy of the affected IPF patient. A legacy may be a vocation, avocation, talent, personal characteristic or social contribution that makes the IPF patient unique and admirable, and that the student family member plans to continue. Selection of recipients will be at the sole discretion of an independent selection committee composed of leading respirologists and community representatives from across Canada.
While the scholarship program aims to alleviate the financial burden felt by family members, it will also help generate awareness around the devastating disease. "IPF has mortality rates higher than many forms of cancer, yet the disease is not well known or familiar to most Canadians," says Robert Davidson, President of the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) and a recipient of a double lung transplant in 2010. "It is wonderful to see the light the InterMune IPF Legacy Scholarship has shone on this disease, and the support it is bringing to the IPF community."
Patient and caregiver support is a priority for InterMune Canada, explains President and General Manager Rob Hamilton. "InterMune Canada is honoured and privileged to introduce this initiative to the IPF community and support individuals that care for a family member living with the disease," says Hamilton. "When a person is faced with a severe illness, an important priority for them becomes the legacy they may leave behind. Given the progressive nature of IPF, we feel a strong need to support this purpose," says Hamilton.
Supporters of the InterMune IPF Legacy Scholarship Program include: The Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) and The Canadian Lung Association (CLA).
For more information about the InterMune IPF Legacy Scholarship Program and a downloadable application package, interested applicants can visit www.lung.ca/ipf or www.canadianpulmonaryfibrosis.ca.
About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, debilitating and ultimately fatal disease characterized predominantly by fibrosis (scarring) in the lungs, hindering the ability for gas exchange in the lungs. IPF is a progressive disease, meaning that over time, lung scarring and symptoms increase in severity. The median survival time from diagnosis is two to five years, with a five-year survival rate of approximately 20-40 percent, which makes IPF more rapidly lethal than many cancers, including breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers. Approximately 5,000 to 9,000 patients are estimated to be living with IPF across Canada. Patients diagnosed with IPF are primarily between the ages of 40 and 80, with a median age of 63 years. The disease tends to affect slightly more men than women.
InterMune is a biotechnology company focused on the research, development and commercialization of innovative therapies in pulmonology and fibrotic diseases. In pulmonology, InterMune is focused on therapies for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive and fatal lung disease. Pirfenidone, the only medicine approved for IPF anywhere in the world, is approved for marketing by InterMune in the EU as Esbriet® and is currently in a Phase 3 clinical trial to support regulatory approval in the United States. Pirfenidone is also approved for the treatment of IPF in Japan, where it is marketed by Shionogi & Co. Ltd. under the trade name Pirespa®. It has not yet received market authorization in Canada. InterMune's research programs are focused on the discovery of targeted, small-molecule therapeutics and biomarkers to treat and monitor serious pulmonary and fibrotic diseases. For additional information about InterMune and its R&D pipeline, please visit www.intermune.com.
About the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF)
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a deadly disease that affects thousands of Canadians, yet it is a generally unknown or unfamiliar disease. Increasing awareness will generate a broader support community, increasing the opposition to IPF. CPFF will generate greater awareness through a calendar of events, digital initiatives and through your support. Please visit www.canadianpulmonaryfibrosis.ca
About the Canadian Lung Association
For over 100 years, The Canadian Lung Association has been dedicated to its mission of promoting and improving lung health for all Canadians. A non-profit and volunteer-based health charity, The Lung Association depends on donations from the public to support lung health research, education, prevention and advocacy. The Lung Association focuses on all issues that affect the ability of Canadians to breathe every day.
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