- Annual Report and Request for Support
- November 1999
- Dear Friends
The goal of our annual fund raising campaign is to secure support for the Pulmonary Education and Research Foundation's, (PERF's), activities in the coming year. This is the only letter that you will receive. We earnestly hope that you will take our request seriously and give generously.
PERF is a small, highly energetic international foundation, whose goal is to promote education and research to benefit patients with chronic pulmonary disorders. The focus is primarily on pulmonary rehabilitation for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (COPD), this nation's fourth most common cause of death, and the only cause of death that is rising among the top ten.
The accomplishments of PERF have been enormous. We have created booklets, now complied into a single comprehensive monograph on a do-it-yourself pulmonary education program. This has been translated into Spanish, and it has been widely distributed. We have produced video cassettes with accompanying booklets that promote pulmonary rehabilitation.
PERF has conducted important research on the value of exercise and breathing training, improving oxygenation, physical exercise capacity, and the quality of life in patients with COPD. This year we were a major supporter of the 5th Oxygen Consensus Conference held in September in Washington, D.C. These conferences have disseminated knowledge regarding cutting edge issues in long-term oxygen therapy. They have contributed to the science about how oxygen works, particularly in conjunction with exercise in COPD. All evidence points to the fact that a combination of oxygen and exercise is restorative to critical tissues of the body. This year's conference focused on ambulatory oxygen and the impact of government cutbacks on the well-being of pulmonary patients.
This year, we joined forces with the National Lung Health Education Program, which aims to involve primary care physicians on the front line in early identification and intervention in COPD. If we can introduce simple lung testing (spirometry) into primary physicians' offices, we will achieve a major victory against this enormous health problem.
But the biggest accomplishment of PERF comes from closer to home. This is the year that the Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center swung into operation. This 4,000 square foot building on the campus of the Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute in Torrance is dedicated to discovering new strategies to improve the lives of those suffering from chronic lung disease. With the help of PERF, furnishings and equipment for this building have been assembled and an outstanding staff has been recruited. The Medical Director of this facility, Dr. Richard Casaburi (who is also the President of PERF), has initiated an extensive program of research. Research projects now underway are evaluating a new method to conserve supplemental oxygen during ambulation, anabolic hormones to improve muscle function, a new long-lasting bronchodilator, and an appetite stimulant for underweight COPD patients. There was a gala inaugural open house held last Spring, with an excellent turnout of PERF supporters.
As the new Millennium dawns, PERF is working on its most ambitious project. Alvin Grancell, a founding member of PERF and currently Vice-President, has announced his intention to commit more than a million dollars to establish the Alvin Grancell and Mary Burns Chair in the Rehabilitative Sciences. It is planned that this Chair will be administered through the Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute and that the initial occupant of this Chair will be Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D. The objective will be to free Rich to pursue rehabilitation research full time. However, since this initial donation will only partially fund this Chair in perpetuity, other major donations are needed. For further information about this exciting project, please contact Mary Burns by telephone or e-mail.
Speaking of Mary Burns, she is as busy as ever, despite having "retired" from full-time clinical work a few years ago. The heart and soul of PERF, she can be reached most readily by e-mail. She lectures widely in support of pulmonary rehabilitation and continues monthly publication of our Second Wind newsletter. This newsletter excels in presenting new developments in rehabilitation in a user-friendly format. Please visit PERF website at www.perf2ndwind.org. You will be excited to see the useful information for patients and rehabilitation specialists.
Unlike other respiratory and thoracic associations that raise money throughout the year from the public, our overhead is minuscule. In fact, the only overhead costs are the basics: telephone, printing, postage, fax, etc. All Directors of PERF donate their time throughout the year. No one is paid. We operate totally from donations of time and money.
Please write your check today. Make it as generous as possible. Your check will support the continuation of our publication, "Second Wind", and all of PERF's efforts for the coming year. We are counting on your support as we enter the next century.
Have a joyous holiday season.
- Thomas Petty, MD