On March 31, Seattle area residents will come together for the 3rd Annual A Breath of Hope Dinner/Auction to raise funds for medical research into an uncommon, and fatal, lung disease known as lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM. This year’s event takes place at the Washington State Convention Center. The Puget Sound Friends of the LAM Foundation knows the money they raise that evening is critical to Gina Israel Dichter, a 37-year-old Bellevue resident who learned three years ago that she has the disease. Most women die within 10 years of diagnosis.
LAM strikes women of child bearing age, destroying lung tissue without warning. Symptoms of LAM include shortness of breath, unexplained lung collapse and chest pain. The cause of LAM is unknown, and right now, it is incurable.
Because the disease is uncommon, government and corporate support for research has been limited. The LAM Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to finding a cure, and founded by the mother of a LAM patient, has raised more than $2.5 million through special fund-raising events like the one held here in Seattle. According to Sue Byrnes, the Foundation’s leader in Ohio, “Seattle’s efforts have been phenomenal. The Pacific Northwest has had a direct effect in our race to find a cure.”
An estimated 650 community members and leaders are expected to attend the auction, including Honorary Chairman, Ken Alhadeff. The evening offers both silent and live auctions, as well as entertainment, and is being hosted by comedienne Tracey Conway, known here in the Northwest for her work on the television show “Almost Live.” Current and past sponsors of the event include Costco Wholesale, Skip and Jackie Kotkins, Ragen Mackenzie and Waggener Edstrom.
For information on the dinner/auction or to contribute to the LAM Foundation, contact Cheryl McQuiston at Puget Sound Friends of the LAM Foundation, 425-451-1494. For more information on LAM, call 513-777-6889, or visit http://lam.uc.edu.