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Nurse who died of ARDS...

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by zcubed zcubed (Member)

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Paula Blonski's sister, Marybeth Monaghen, was a dedicated nurse, who did not work in an ICU and knew little about ARDS. In 1988, when she had to have an ovary removed, she looked at it as though it was minor surgery. But her wound would not heal...

Three weeks later, she was back in the hospital, and Marybeth's eight week battle, that included a diagnosis of Leukemia that was never detected in presurgical tests. Paula said that Marybeth's oncologist said, "I can beat the cancer but I don't know if we can beat the ARDS..."

They could not, and in August, 1988, three months after Marybeth originally went to the hospital to have her ovary removed, and eight weeks of fighting ARDS, she died at the age of thirty-six.

Here is the entire story with photo:


Paula, a younger sister of Marybeth's, had thought long and hard about what to do to make a difference... Paula and I found one another because we both felt this need to help others and effect change, which is what we have done since creating our national not for profit organization in late 2000.

Paula and I are both grateful to nurses, as well as PTs, OTs, RTs for their hard work and dedication. We have heard from many who feel they too would like to fight this battle against ARDS. And that is why, as any time we have an event, we try to find you to extend an invite to you and your family, as our guests... Here is the info and if you would like to join us, there will be food, drinks, face painting for the kids, all of that sort of thing, but most importantly, there will be those from the ARDS community to share their triumph and, unfortunately, some despair, but to make a difference in our fight.

The ARDS Foundation is hosting it's second "March for Miracles" Benefit at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. We feel that it is of the utmost importance to include anyone and everyone who is affected by ARDS at such events, patients and families as well as the medical professionals who have been profoundly touched as well. For more information, please click on this link:


We hope to see you there. Below is a copy of our Press Release related to this event.

Eileen And Paula


Contact: Eileen Rubin Zacharias

312.749.7047 or Eileen@ardsusa.org

ARDS Foundation http://www.ardsusa.org “March for Miracles”

NORTHBROOK, IL/ July 12, 2004 — On Saturday, August 14, 2004, the ARDS Foundation will host its second annual “March for Miracles” benefit at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL. Events will include a walk/run, along with entertainment and food in the garden’s picnic area. Proceeds from the event will be used to promote public awareness and raise funds for medical research for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Foundation events over the past three years have raised more than $30,000. Registration for this year’s march will begin at 7:30 a.m.

ARDS is a life threatening condition that leads to a dangerous loss in the functioning of the lungs. Although there are over 60 distressed conditions that can bring on ARDS, the most common are pneumonia, sepsis (an overwhelming infection in the body), aspiration of fumes, food or stomach contents into the lung, and trauma. These conditions cause the body to manufacture substances that may cause inflammation in the lungs. Once inflamed, the alveoli (air sacs) are then unable to perform the normal oxygenation of the blood. There are approximately 150,000 reported cases of ARDS per year. Yet because ARDS is often linked with other distressed conditions, it is believed that the actual number of cases per year is significantly higher.

ARDS is particularly complicated because no patient enters the hospital with ARDS as their admitting diagnosis. However, almost anyone who is admitted to a hospital is at risk to develop ARDS.

Over 75,000 Americans will die this year from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

Over nine years ago, ARDS suddenly changed the life of 33-year old attorney, Eileen Rubin Zacharias. “After I spent four weeks in a coma and eight weeks on a ventilator, I committed myself to increasing awareness about this devastating syndrome,” said Eileen Zacharias, ARDS Foundation President. “Over the past five years, we have been working passionately to find ways to raise money that will lead to increased medical knowledge that can be used to fight ARDS.”

Paula Blonski, who lost her sister, Marybeth, a nurse, at the age of thirty-six, said, “ARDS seriously lacks public awareness, and as a result, ARDS research is severely underfunded,” said Blonski, Vice President of the ARDS Foundation. “We can only begin to make a difference by expanding education, awareness and governance initiatives that will empower individuals to promote early diagnoses and successful treatment of ARDS.”

To learn more about ARDS and the ARDS Foundation, please visit http://www.ardsusa.org or call 1.312.749.7047.

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