Beaux Arts Ball to Raise Funds for National Jewish Health and Veterans with Lung Disease on March 10 in Denver

National Jewish Health will “Salute the Stars and Stripes” in patriotic 1940s style at the Beaux Arts Ball on March 10. A portion of the money raised will fund the research and treatment of lung disease and injuries that veterans may face as they return from overseas deployments.

The black-tie or mess dress gala will take place at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, which was built on the former Lowry Air Force Base in 1939, the year World War II began. There, attendees will celebrate the USO with a 1940s-themed evening while surrounded by historic aircraft and aerospace technology. The 2012 Beaux Arts Ball will be hosted by Grand Marshals Colleen and Javier Baz, Sharon and Lanny Martin, and Sheila and Hassan Salem.

National Jewish Health will honor U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii with the Arthur B. Lorber Award for Distinguished Service. A World War II combat veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Sen. Inouye will be recognized for his dedication to his country and strong support of National Jewish Health for more than 40 years.

Beaux Arts Ball attendees will also participate in the direct donation Fund-A-Need program during the event to support a specific area of need at National Jewish Health. Since 2008, Fund-A-Need has raised more than $1.6 million for the institution, funding pediatric asthma and food allergies, autoimmune deficiency in infants, and Kunsberg School for chronically ill children.

This year’s Fund-A-Need will support a new program at National Jewish Health to investigate the deployment-related lung disease for returning U.S. military veterans, including retired Maj. Scott Weakley, who will attend Beaux Arts Ball this year. Several surveys have suggested that warfighters returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer asthma, bronchiolitis and other severe respiratory diseases at about twice the rate of veterans stationed elsewhere.  The causes of their lung diseases remain mysterious, but may be related to exposure to noxious chemicals and particulate substances in the environment.

After multiple deployments in the Middle East, Weakley was looking forward to returning to a normal life with his family in Colorado. Lung disease has made that homecoming dramatically different for him and his family. The former marathon runner now struggles to go for short walks or play with his children for more than a few minutes.

“I do believe that there is hope,” Weakley said. “That’s what keeps me going – this sense of what is going to happen in the future, not only for me, but most importantly for those who are coming back who don’t have the opportunities to have great healthcare at National Jewish Health and the Denver VA (Veterans Affairs).”

National Jewish Health physicians are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat these veterans and have established a program specifically for them.

“Unfortunately we don’t yet have enough information to know precisely what's causing the increase in respiratory symptoms in people who are deployed,” said Cecile Rose, MD, MPH. Richard Meehan, MD, FACP, a rheumatologist and Iraq veteran, and Dr. Rose have established a research program aimed at discovering exactly what is causing their disease, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.

To attend the 2012 Beaux Arts Ball or for more information, contact Laura Gillespie Lhevine at gillespielhevinel@njhealth.org or call 303.728.6546.

National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. Since 1998, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish Health the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation.

 
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