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I Had a Dream

I had a dream. I hope you’ll forgive me for borrowing the words of Dr. King but these words express my feelings so well also. It didn’t start as a dream. In 1976, because I was asked to start a pulmonary rehabilitation program, I very reluctantly left the coronary care unit I had been working in for 6 years. I wanted to work in coronary rehabilitation, not pulmonary rehabilitation! The struggles this took are for another story for another time. But once I received the necessary approvals the first patients could graduate in May of 1977 from an outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program at a small community hospital. In spite of all the frustrations, in spite of knowing almost nothing about pulmonary rehabilitation, I was hooked.  It was exciting and rewarding to help people no one thought could be helped. My dream, and the dream and goal of all my patients that have since graduated from that rehabilitation program, was to spread the word to help others as they had been helped.

The years passed. There are many, many stories to tell about the adventure of spreading the concept of pulmonary rehabilitation around the world. So many people needed it, and still do; while so few programs are available to help with this.

So where do you turn these days when you want to learn about something? Why the internet, of course!  The Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Research Foundation – PERF – finally, after many twists and turns, has developed a new website to carry the message far and wide! A small foundation like ours, with limited funds and volunteers, still is able to do something very important – and this is what has been my dream – to spread the concept of pulmonary rehabilitation to all. We want everyone to have access to information about the symptoms of pulmonary problems, and to educate all about what can be done to help those symptoms, because so very much can be done to help!

If you would like some information about what pulmonary rehabilitation is, and about how it can help you or your loved one, this is a good place to start. But our new website does not stop there! We have many articles that will help, with more being developed, and made easier to access, all the time.

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the Gawlicki Foundation have put together another wonderful resource – www.LiveBetter.org – to help you find a pulmonary rehabilitation near you. But if you forget to save that link, you can find it again on our PERF website under Recommended Websites. While you are there, don’t forget to check out the rest of our website on a regular basis also. Some of the informative and educational videos are a great resource; these were recorded when members of our Board of Directors – internationally renowned physicians and researchers – speak on TV shows or to patient groups. There is so much great information there already, AND we promise that in the next 6 months it will get even better and more informative! If you have a question, send us a message, we will try to answer it now. And don’t forget to sign-up for our monthly emails, which will let you know each month, all about what has been going on in the world of pulmonary rehabilitation.

We hope our new website will make true our dream of helping many more people learn about the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation. There is so much to learn, to help reduce shortness of breath and exercise limitations. Then you too can also help spread the word and help the many others afflicted with breathing problems!

The Pulmonary Education and Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created in 1984 in the south bay area of Los Angeles, California. We were formed from a passion to change the poor outlook for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), through research into pulmonary rehabilitation. Over time, this purpose has adapted to include other diseases where shortness-of-breath and exercise intolerance are hallmark symptoms. We rely on your support to provide education and research that can bring rapid benefit to patients with breathing difficulties.

Please consider making a donation to help us continue this good work. All donations are tax deductible. We have an extremely low overhead (less than 10% over the past 5 years) and all our Board of Directors and Medical Advisors are volunteers. This means that nearly all your donation goes directly towards to helping patients through research and education.

With best wishes for your improved health,

Mary Burns, RN, BS

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