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Published on September 01, 2021

Cone Health Fighting for a Cure During Pulmonary Fibrosis Month

September 2021 has been recognized as Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month in Greensboro.

GREENSBORO – Cone Health continues to raise awareness and fight for a cure for pulmonary fibrosis as the City of Greensboro recognizes Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month this September.

Fred Haley understands the dangers of pulmonary fibrosis all too well. He’s a co-founder of the PTI Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PTI PFF) and was diagnosed with a severe form of pulmonary fibrosis in 2011.

Pulmonary fibrosis is the result of damage or scarring of the lung tissue. It currently has no cure and affects 200,000 Americans and kills more than 40,000 people across the country each year.

Haley was only expected to live another 2 to 5 years following his diagnosis. But nearly a decade later, he credits early awareness and a quick response by pulmonologists at LeBauer HealthCare at Cone Health with saving his life and hopes to give others the same chance.

“The primary reason I am alive right now is that I was diagnosed early before I had symptoms,” Haley said. “I got diagnosed immediately and treated immediately, and that’s the most important thing that we’re trying to do is to make people aware of this disease so they can be treated sooner.”

That’s why Haley’s PTI PFF has worked with members of the Cone Health system, including Murali Ramaswamy, MD, medical director of pulmonary care at LeBauer Pulmonary and Cone Health, in leading the effort to raise awareness locally. Ramaswamy, Haley and others turned to the City of Greensboro to have Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month officially observed across the city this September. In August, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan signed a proclamation doing just that.

“This really shows that Greensboro understands the impact pulmonary fibrosis has on people,” Ramaswamy said. “And that sends a message to the doctors of this city that we need to care for these patients and that we can care for these patients.”

Ramaswamy serves as CEO and president of the award-winning clinical trials site PulmonIx, which was launched in 2015 by Ramaswamy and other LeBauer pulmonary physicians. PulmonIx participates in cutting-edge clinical trials in pulmonary fibrosis that have resulted in first-in-class drug approvals for worldwide benefit and influential publications in the field.

LeBauer HealthCare at Cone Health is one of 70 members of the national Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Care Center Network. The PFF’s Care Center Network is a collection of medical centers with expertise in accurately diagnosing and treating people with pulmonary fibrosis. The designation places LeBauer HealthCare at Cone Health among care centers of national excellence in pulmonary fibrosis care and research.

As the City of Greensboro recognizes Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, Haley has one clear message for anyone who has questions about their health – specifically in their lungs.

“Don’t put it off,” he said.