After nearly 38 years of marriage, Ann Jordan suffered the loss of her best friend and husband Tom last year after he lost his battle to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) — a fatal disease in which scar tissue is formed on the lungs depriving the victim of the ability to breathe.
Ann and the Jordan family are hoping to bring awareness to the disease through a 1 Mile and 5K “Love Run” in honor of Tom.
“After he told us he was ready to go to heaven, we were around his hospital bed saying our goodbyes, and the last words he said was ‘go love everyone you meet.’ That’s why we decided to do the Love Run because he seemed to really live that,” Ann said emotionally. “Tom was on two study drugs at Emory, and neither one became a cure. The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis provided our family support in the last five years, and I just want to do something to get the word out about this dreadful, deadly disease and also find a cure.”
The community event is slated to kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at Northridge Christian Church off Log Cabin Road. Registration is $20 for individuals age 12 and older, and $12 for children under 12. In order to receive a T-shirt, walkers and runners must register by Monday, Feb. 3. Proceeds of the event will be donated to the Coalition of Pulmonary Fibrosis to support its mission of finding a cure.
“We know everyone can’t come to Milledgeville, but we hope you can still support our team. This year, we hope to raise $5,000 for the Coalition of Pulmonary Fibrosis,” Ann said. “We aren’t doing this as a race for awards and such, but we’re doing this to come together to love on each other and raise money for a cure. There is currently no cure for this disease, but researchers are working toward finding medications that can alter or stop the condition from worsening.”
Prizes from area businesses will also be raffled off during the event, including gift certificates to restaurants and gift baskets. Businesses or individuals who donate $100 or more will be advertised on the event T-shirt as sponsors.
According to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, IPF affects between 132,000 and 200,000 people in the United States. Approximately 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and as many as 40,000 Americans die from IPF each year. IPF affects more men than women and usually occurs between the ages of 50 and 70, however, IPF has been diagnosed in people from early adulthood into their late 80s.
The Jordans moved from Athens to Milledgeville in 1984, and became owners of the local SERVPRO. Tom was diagnosed with IPF in 2007, and as a result, the Jordans sold the franchise after 25 years of business. Tom went to work at the local AT&T store in 2008. He lost his fight to the disease at age 69 on May 29, 2012.
“Tom was very active at church and he loved to sing,” Ann said. “He had a very good sense of humor and liked to play jokes on people, but he was also a very compassionate man.”
The Jordans have three daughters — Laurie Hix, Sheree Morris and Deanna Maddox — and two grandchildren — Gracie Hix, Tyler Morris and one on the way.
“The girls love their mother, but they were all three daddy’s girls. He had the gift to make each one of them feel like they were number one,” Ann said. “I feel fully blessed that I had my chance to say goodbye.”
For more information about the event, to donate funds, or register, call Ann at 770-401-7739, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/lauriehix.