The Martin Edward Galvin Fund for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Research was established in loving honor of Martys memory and to inspire hope for the tens of thousands of individuals currently affected by IPF. Marty succumbed to IPF just nine short months after his diagnosis in 1972. At the time of this death, our five children ranged in age from nine to three years old. Marty was the kind of man that everyone wanted to know and whom everyone called a friend. All who knew him remember a wise and kind soul who was always ready with a quick wit or quiet advice. While Marty was a unique man, unfortunately his story is not.
All of his five siblings were subsequently diagnosed with IPF. In total, Marty's generation of the Galvin family lost a mother, three brothers, and a sister to IPF. In 2005, one of our sons was diagnosed with this same devastating disease. Christopher's fight against IPF was different than our other family members because we had the University of Michigan Health System on our side and with it, the hope that a lung transplant would save Christophers life. Despite the excellent care provided to Christopher, he was too weak to survive the double lung transplant he eventually received and died of IPF in November 2006. In 2012, we are faced once again with the diagnosis of IPF for my son John but we do not face it alone: the University of Michigan's excellent doctors and researchers are by our side.
Even though our story is a profound one, we are not alone. Many families share a similar story. In fact, approximately 89,000 Americans are currently diagnosed with IPF. Historically, there has been great difficulty in obtaining an accurate diagnosis; often individuals spend up to two years being misdiagnosed before finally receiving the correct diagnosis of IPF. In light of their shortened life expectancy of three to five years after disease onset, such a delay is devastating.
This situation does not apply at Michigan. Through its commitment to research and dedication to the individual patient, the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine has developed a diagnostic protocol that is streamlined, sequential and accurate. This buys time, and time affords options. Although currently there is still no cure for IPF, due to the steadfast efforts of the exceptional Michigan doctors and research scientists, we have never been closer. Their work is changing the course of history. Michigan gives us hope.
Mary Kay Galvin