|5:04 PM EDT||
Brian Baird, D-WA 3rd
Mr. BAIRD. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlelady, and I thank my colleague from New York as well.
My colleague from New York did a very nice job of honoring our dear friend Charlie Norwood who perished of this disease. My interest comes from the fact that my father died of the disease, and I want to also talk about Mike Castle who has been a strong supporter of this legislation. Mike lost a sister and a brother to this disease.
What I would share with people is imagine getting a diagnosis for a disease you may never have heard of, for which there is no known cause and no known treatment, but it will be fatal. That's IPF, and as the gentleman from New York pointed out, it is estimated that the deaths, at least by some sources, that the deaths caused by IPF on an annual basis exceed the number of breast cancer deaths in this country. But my understanding is NIH currently allocates about $14 million total to research on
So we have a disease that is growing in prevalence, that is fatal, that we have no known cause and no known cure of, and it has claimed the life of one of our dear colleagues here and the family members of Members of the Congress. That's why we've introduced this resolution.
I want to commend families and friends from the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis who were here a couple of weeks ago on Capitol Hill lobbying in support of this legislation. I'm pleased to see our leadership bring this up.
We would hope that this is a first step. Our hope is that by increasing the awareness of our colleagues here in Congress and of the American public that we can not only increase awareness of the disease but begin to work towards actual dedicated funding for this.
This is a cruel illness. Anyone who has seen a family member suffer from it has seen the actually rather desperate effort to try to simply breathe, and that's what happens when your lungs scar up and one goes from a stage of diagnosis where you have a little shortness of breath. Then you begin to need oxygen, to then you flat just cannot breathe and you die of this thing. There are a host of other complications that happen along the way that are not particularly pleasant, to say the least.
So I want to urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and I would urge them to look forward to ways that we can actually do more to actually identify the causes. There is believed to be some genetic component. I know of one woman who has had five family members die of the same illness. We don't know whether that is the cause of all cases. We don't know how it's passed on.
But this is the kind of illness that is killing a number of our friends, now one of our colleagues and many family members of Members of Congress right here. So I urge my colleagues to support the resolution.
I thank the gentleman from New York. I thank the gentlelady from Wisconsin, and I particularly want to commend Nathan Deal who was one of Charlie Norwood's closest friends. It's very personal for Nathan. Obviously, it's personal for myself and Mike Castle. I would urge passage, and I thank the gentlelady.