About The Long Walk For Lungs
The Long Walk for Lungs eventuated as a result of AGnVET Services, Bill Van Nierop being diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) in 2015, quite by chance, and like many with a similar diagnosis, he was unsure what it all meant. It was only a ‘blip’ on an X-ray following a bout of pneumonia that raised some initial concerns and prompted further investigation.
IPF is a rare condition. In Australia, there are approximately 1,500 new IPF cases each year. There is no cure available for IPF yet. It is a progressive disease associated with scarring of the lung tissue that makes it difficult to breath. The five-year survival rate is as low as some of the more devastating cancers – approximately 20%.
The cause of IPF is unknown but certain environmental factors and exposures have been shown to increase the risk of getting IPF. Smoking is the best recognized and most accepted risk factor for IPF. Other environmental and occupation exposures such as exposure to metal dust, wood dust, coal dust, silica, stone dust, biologic dusts coming from hay dust or mold spores or other agricultural products, and occupations related to farming/livestock have also been shown to increase the risk for IPF.
With his diagnosis, Bill has become determined to work with Lung Foundation Australia to raise awareness of this devastating disease as well as symptoms of lung disease so that people can be diagnosed and treated earlier. Lung Foundation Australia is the only national charity dedicated to supporting anyone with a lung disease. Find out more
By becoming an advocate for Lung Foundation Australia, and speaking publicly about his personal situation, Bill hopes to create awareness in rural areas of the prevalence of chronic lung disease and to encourage those with symptoms to take them seriously.
Another motivation of Bill’s is to increase the amount of funding for research to improve outcomes for those affected by lung disease.