that her father’s lung is housed in its labs.
So, the new mother marches on.
Despite having no medical training, she has
the standing within the medical community to get things done. She’s chair of the
American Thoracic Society’s public advisory roundtable, a patient advocacy group.
She’s also a director in the society and on
the board of trustees of its foundation.
Donohue was elected chair of the foundation’s trustees in September.
Her latest idea is to bring together doctors and researchers across the various
organs affected by fibroses: skin, kidney,
heart, liver and lung. Put them all in a
room together, she says, and they’ll see
whether there is anything they can learn
from each other. The society is helping to
organize the gathering.
Should there be any findings from that,
however, tangible benefits to patients likely
are years away. The fight will be long, one
that will need much medical research,
money and public education, and it will
need advocates who fight as if their lives
depend on it, as if they, too, live under a
death sentence from pulmonary fibrosis.
PAUL T. O’CONNOR, with more than 30
years of experience as a newspaper reporter
and columnist, is a freelance writer who also
teaches news reporting at UNC’s School of
Journalism and Mass Communication. He
was an editorial writer for 12 years at The
Winston-Salem Journal, where he remains a
member of the editorial board.
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