October 15, 2015

Lung Foundation Australia to highlight rare lung disease

A New South Wales mother of two decided to prove to her children that she could overcome the same rare lung disease that killed her father and two brothers.

Now in her late 60s, Marion Walsham and other patients suffering from a rare lung disease will join leading health professionals and take part in the second biennial Australian Rare Lung Disease short course starting this Friday in Sydney.

“Like my father and eldest brother, I was also diagnosed with IPF in 2006 and my immediate reaction was I’m going to fight this,” Ms Walsham said.

Ms Walsham was determined to show her two daughters the lung disease is not necessarily a death sentence.

“Luckily in 2009 I had a double lung transplant that saved my life,” she said.

“Research and education are the key to fighting lung disease, to finding better treatments and to aim for a cure.”

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said there were more than 30 rare lung diseases like IPF or cystic fibrosis affecting Australians every day.[i]

“In fact, one in every 200 people is affected by a rare lung disease,” Mrs Allan said.i

“This conference is an opportunity to bring together the best researchers, clinicians and experts from around Australia to highlight these often overlooked diseases,” she said.

“People attending the conference will hear presentations from highly regarded rare lung disease specialists including international keynote speaker, Professor Kevin Flaherty from the University of Michigan (USA).

“These specialists will present updates on the latest in research, diagnosis and therapy for rare lung diseases.”

As part of the Australian Rare Lung Disease Short Course, Lung Foundation Australia is hosting a patient education stream for anyone living with or caring for someone with a rare lung disease on Saturday 17 October.

“Patients are an important part in the conversation about fighting lung disease,” Mrs Allan said.

“This special patient stream will give them the opportunity to talk with other people who have experienced the challenges of living with a lung disease,” she said.

“They will hear presentations from leading national respiratory physicians, nurses and physiotherapists as well as a Question and Answer session to close.”

For more information about the Australian Rare Lung Disease Short course including the program and late registration visit http://lungfoundation.com.au/health-professionals/conferences/ or phone freecall 1800 654 301.


Marion Walsham and Heather Allan are available for interviews. Please contact Laura Guthrie on 07 3251 3644 or laura@lungfoundation.com.au


Click here for more information or to view the program.



[i] http://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/breathing-in-america/resources/chapter-18-rare-lung-diseases.pdf