"It was earth-shaking news"
When Frank Benson reflects on his father’s death 25 years ago, he thinks largely about all the uncertainty attached to it.
Doctors knew that Frank’s dad suffered from a form of lung disease, but the exact cause was unclear. Some speculated that the Army veteran, a Purple Heart recipient who took part in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, had been exposed to toxins during World War II. Others pointed to his lifelong smoking habit.
Frank’s father died at 68 of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic, incurable disease that destroys lung function. About 5 million people worldwide suffer from IPF, and a patient generally survives about four years after diagnosis.
Frank, 66, of New Albany, now finds himself facing the same struggle his father did. He was diagnosed with IPF in 2016.
“It was earth-shaking news,” he says. “But at the same time, you have to keep a very positive attitude, which I keep trying to do. It’s emotional, because I have four children.”