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Press Release

UK’s Favourite TV Doctor To ‘Kiss Off’

Blue Lip World Record Breaker To Boost Profile Of Rare Deadly Lung Disease 

The UK’s Popular TV medic, Dr Chris Steele MBE, is launching the final stage of an innovative, charity led, global health education campaign on February 18th 2011 at a North West England High School that looks set to break a Guinness World Record ™and help put a rare deadly lung disease that virtually no one has heard about on the map.

The UK’s favourite GP, enjoying his 21st year on ITV’s award winning daytime TV show, ‘This Morning’, is patron of the patient support charity the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK (PHA-UK) whose ‘Puckerup4PH’ campaign (www.puckerup4ph.com) has inspired people across the World to collect thousands of blue lip prints as part of an initiative to boost the profile of the incurable, serious lung/heart condition PH (Pulmonary Hypertension).  Research by PHA-UK shows as little as 3% of the public know anything about PH.  Blue lips or cyanosis, as its medically termed, can be a sign of the condition.

Pupils at the specialist Science & Technology College, Castlebrook High School in Bury, Greater Manchester in the UK, have not only lent 366 blue lip prints to the campaign, they’ll also be assisting with the official count of the tens of thousands of blue lip prints gathered from across the globe, under the watchful eye of independent witnesses and officials from Guinness World Records ™. 

More than 100 pupils from Castlebrook High School will be involved in the final count at the school’s ‘state of the art’ IT suite on February the 18th. The event will be filmed and recorded live for the campaign’s PuckerUp4PH.com website, with edited reports appearing online throughout the day.

36 year old Kerry Freedman, who teaches Design & Technology at the school, tragically lost her sister, Victoria Lynn, to the illness seven years ago, aged 20.  Kerry and her family are keen supporters of PHA-UK and have raised thousands of pounds for the charity. Kerry said, “To break a Guinness World Record would be just fantastic!  Victoria would be so proud of this achievement.  For the two year campaign to be finalised and broadcast from our school is such an honour.  I am so grateful to the Head, Mr Tony Roberts and to my colleagues and pupils for their unfailing support.”

Castlebrook High School’s Head teacher Mr Tony Roberts added, “I am very excited at the prospect of the school helping to break a Guinness World Record. We’ve had a fantastic response from staff and learners to the campaign. Ahead of our involvement, a presentation was shown to the school about Pulmonary Hypertension, which inspired our school community to want to do all they could to help."

PuckerUp4PH is the brainchild of broadcast journalist & campaigner, Paul Pennington.  He said, “Everyone connected with the campaign is deeply grateful to Castlebrook High School for their support. Looking at the ten huge boxes crammed full with blue lip prints ready to be counted, it is going to be quite a day!”

“I developed the blue lip motif for PHA-UK and the PH community, to help grab the attention of the 97% of the population who don’t know about this complex, deadly lung disease. Research by PHA-UK shows it can take an average of 2-3 years to achieve a correct diagnosis of the condition with lack of awareness believed to contribute to those delays, preventing people gaining access to the specialised care and treatments they need. People with PH are living longer and with a better quality of life, but early diagnosis is key.”

“February 18th marks the culmination of a two year long global awareness campaign that my team and I developed around the blue logo that has attracted the support of 32 PH patient groups across the World.  Although it has been quite a task, creating and shipping several tonnes of educational materials in 10 different languages from the UK’s campaign headquarters to groups from Quebec to Queensland, it has been extremely rewarding to see the enthusiasm and creativity the campaign has inspired in each part of the world.  Activities have ranged from a Blue Kissing Wall in Tel Aviv to mass blue lipped workouts in Brisbane.”  

“The sheer volume of PH awareness achieved by this campaign is very gratifying. Not only has it helped put the condition on the map, it has assisted in aiding a number of people be diagnosed with PH and for those living with the disease to feel less isolated.   I have my fingers firmly crossed for everyone who has been involved that they’ve collected more than the 39,538 lip prints required to break the existing Guinness World Record. ”

NOTES TO EDITORS:
Media Contacts: Bernadette Moore/Paul Pennington/Elizabeth Hinchey T: +44 (0)20 7272 3915  e:
media@puckerup4ph.com

Paul Pennington and representatives from the 32 PH patient groups (including the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Honduras, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Equador, Israel, South Africa, Singapore, India, Taiwan, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Bosnia, Serbia, Czech Republic and Germany) who have participated in the PuckerUp4PH campaign are available to talk about PH and the PuckerUp4PH campaign. We have a series of case studies available for interview.  Castlebrook High School spokespeople are also available for interview.  A press & photo call will take place on the morning of the 18th of February, timings and details are available on request.

The Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK (PHA-UK) charity number 1120756 www.phassociation.uk.com provides support, understanding, and information for everyone whose life is touched by Pulmonary Hypertension (PH).

About PuckerUp4PH: PuckerUp4PH is a two-year global initiative led by Paul Pennington for PHA-UK in association with 32 PH patient groups across the World.  The PuckerUp4PH campaign has been supported globally by unrestricted educational grants from Bayer, Pfizer, Actelion and United Therapeutics.  For more information visit www.PuckerUp4PH.com

About Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)

  • PH is a rare disease in which the blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs elevates putting pressure on the heart, reducing the amount of oxygen that is able to reach the tissues of the body causing breathlessness and exhaustion. This can significantly impact on an individual’s ability to lead a normal life.

  • PH is often mistakenly diagnosed by health professionals due to its similarities to asthma, Research by PHA-UK shows almost three quarters of people living with PH had to see more than three doctors and just over a quarter visiting over five before being correctly diagnosed. 

  • People with PH experience a range of symptoms. The most common are breathlessness, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, palpitations and increased lethargy.  These "non-specific" symptoms making it quite difficult to diagnose PH. 

  • PH can often lead to heart failure and can be a standalone condition or associated with other diseases. 

  • PH affects people of all ages (including young children).  It is twice as common in women as men and the commonest age at presentation is 40 - 50 years old. 

  • Lack of awareness of PH amongst healthcare professionals and frequent misdiagnosis make the actual number of people living with PH difficult to estimate. (There are currently approx. 4,000 diagnosed cases of PH in the UK, )

  • Although there is no cure, there are effective and relatively new treatments that can help people living with PH if they are diagnosed early in the disease progression. 

  • With correct treatment and a faster diagnosis almost two thirds of PH patients will live longer than 5 years. If not treated, approximately half of patients die within two years. 

  • Thanks to advances in medical understanding and treatments the future for people with PH is increasingly brighter. 

  • Transplantation: Heart-lung transplantation is a procedure offered to patients when all possible medical treatments have proved to be ineffective.  Therefore patients who receive transplants are very ill, and have a very poor quality of life. This treatment is limited by the availability of organs that are good enough to use.  Sadly this means that some patients die whilst waiting for suitable organs. 

-ends-

UK’s Favourite TV Doctor To ‘Kiss Off’ Blue Lip World Record Breaker To Boost Profile Of Rare Deadly Lung Disease. Media Contacts: Bernadette Moore/Paul Pennington/Elizabeth Hinchey T: + 44 (0) 20 7272 3915 E: media@puckerup4ph.com