Pohlen Teams Up with Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
By Wheat Hotchkiss | September 11, 2013
If you’ve seen Jeanette Pohlen this year, you may have noticed the wristband. She’s worn it off the court, at practice, and even in games. Wrapped around her left wrist, one half blue and the other half green, it’s a subtle homage to the man who inspired her.
John Pohlen, Jeanette’s father, passed away in December after a battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Now his daughter is paying it forward by teaming up with the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation to raise awareness about the disease.
“I have become involved with the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation because it was something my dad was really passionate about,” Pohlen said. “He really wanted to get involved and raise awareness and PFF is a great way to do it. They provide support and information to people affected by this terrible disease.”
Pulmonary Fibrosis is an incurable disease where lung tissue becomes scarred and thickened, preventing oxygen flow to vital organs. There is currently no FDA-approved treatment and no cure for the disease, and the typical life expectancy for those diagnosed is just two to three years.
The goals of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation are to help in the race to find a cure, provide support for pulmonary fibrosis patients and their families, and raise awareness.
Pohlen is doing all that she can to help increase general knowledge about the disease. Many people have no real knowledge of the condition – Pohlen herself had never heard of it before her father’s diagnosis – but pulmonary fibrosis has a significant impact on the general population.
According to PFF, there are over 250,000 people living with pulmonary fibrosis. Just in the United States, an estimated 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and another 40,000 people die from the disease.
Last week, Pohlen and her teammates and coaches all donned wristbands and posted a picture to social media to help raise awareness in advance of Global Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Day, which was Sept. 7. Many of her teammates continued wearing the wristbands, on and off the court. Erlana Larkins and Shavonte Zellous have even sported the wristbands during the Fever’s past several games.
“I really appreciated my teammates joining in and helping me raise awareness,” Pohlen said.
And thanks in large part to Pohlen’s efforts, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation will be the Community Spotlight Partner at the Fever’s final home game of the season, this Friday, Sept. 13, against the New York Liberty. The Fever will air a PSA featuring Pohlen prior to the game and will recognize PFF in an on-court presentation. The organization will also have an information table on the main concourse where fans can sign up to join/help Jeanette start the PFF Support Group in Indianapolis.
“I think it is important to have a support group because people need to know they are not alone,” Pohlen said. “I am asking people to come and sign up to help me start the support group.”
“My goal for this support group is to create an environment of comfort and compassion. Knowing there are people there that care about each other and can be there to talk to will make a huge difference.”
After Friday night, there should be a few more people in Indianapolis sporting blue-and-green wristbands.
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