Inverness resident calling attention to a life-threatening disease

Inverness resident Fredrick Schick, an experienced swimmer, is serving as an ambassador for a national organization in an effort to call attention to a life-threatening disease.

Schick, 77, is volunteering for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. About 86% of Americans are unaware of the disease's symptoms, which include shortness of breath, fatigue and a dry, hacking cough.

Officials from the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation said Schick was on a routine snorkeling excursion when he had to be pulled from the water after experiencing shortness of breath. His duties as an ambassador will include helping the foundation as part of Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month in September.

He plans to participate in the virtual Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Walk on Sept. 12. Schick is a member of the Suburban Lung Associates Pulmonary Fibrosis Support Group Meet and Greet in Elk Grove Village.

Schick had been experiencing the extreme breathlessness for about three years before he went in for medical assistance. He ultimately was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive, debilitating lung disease that affects roughly 200,000 Americans and has no known cure.

The foundation notes the word "pulmonary" means lung and the word "fibrosis" means scar tissue. That tissue would be similar to scars from an old injury or surgery. At least 50,000 new cases are diagnosed annually and about 40,000 Americans die per year from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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