My name is Neil Deshpande, and I am a high school student who is the grandson of a beloved man who passed away from pulmonary fibrosis. My goal is to raise awareness for the disease by raising funds which will go directly to the American Lung Association. By supporting this cause, you are also joining the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic - since pulmonary fibrosis is a condition that leaves its victims immuno-suppressed to the disease, and some people get this terrible condition AFTER getting COVID.
I ask you to read my story below.
When I think of smoking, I am transported back to my early childhood memories in Pune, India in my grandfather’s room, catching the foul wafts of odor coming from the cigarette in his mouth, while he is telling me a story about a business he ran in the late 60’s. “Everyone has a due date”, he tells me, talking about a colleague he worked with who was kidnapped. I am smiling, appreciating the quality time I am getting to spend with my grandfather - who cares so much about me, and my health. The problem is - the cigarette which he is smoking, the scent that I associate with his memory now, will be the eventual cause of his demise. August 2011. I remember a doctor coming to our house, letting us know that my grandfather had a condition - one that would increasingly affect his life drastically as time went on - but never a “due date”, as my grandfather had called it affectionately. I returned to New Jersey in September, exuberant and confident that my grandfather’s due date was nowhere in the near future. Little did I know - the next seven Augusts which I would spend with my grandfather would be his last. But even now, I know that he never turned anything in on his due date; and I always smile in remembrance. Although the condition he had, pulmonary fibrosis, could have been a genetically inherited disease, there was no doubt in my family’s mind that smoking had increased his risk for potency. I believe that raising awareness and funds for pulmonary fibrosis can help people elucidate that this is a pulmonary ailment, or lung disease which leaves people with, as my beloved grandfather would say, with a “due date”. And although even as recent as back in 2010, we didn’t know how much time would elapse between diagnosis and the “due date”, we learned that the prognosis is between 3-10 years. And I am confident that with even more research, we can learn even more information to combat the effects, so that grandfathers can keep telling their grandchildren stories, except without a cigarette.
When I think about a more current standpoint, all I can be cognizant of is COVID-19. And when I think about my grandfather's disease in relation to COVID, I feel a strange sense of melancholy - because in a bittersweet way, my grandfather's passing occurred at a fortunate time for him, especially since it was right before the outbreak of COVID-19. By donating to this cause, you are also being socially and scientifically aware of the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 to patients with underlying lung problems.
Please donate today - this modest thousand dollar goal is only the beginning! Proceeds go directly to the American Lung Association and help aid pending projects and research about lung disease!