South Florida ARDS Benefit

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Karapaloza will be held on May 14, 2005, at Quiet Waters in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The benefit, from 10:00 AM-6:00 PM, is in memory of Kristen Southon, who lost her battle with ARDS at the age of ninetten.

On May 14, 2005, Karapaloza will be held at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, Powerline Road between 10th Street and Hillsboro Blvd.

The benefit, from 10:00 AM to 6:00, PM is in memory of nineteen year old Kristen Southon, who lost her battle with ARDS on March 21, 2005. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit ARDS Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization which provides education, awareness and raises money for medical research of acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Raffle tickets are $1.00 a piece or $10.00 for fifteen.

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.

In February, Kristen, who was seventeen weeks pregnant, was hospitalized with a kidney infection. Only a few days later, she was diagnosed ARDS and on a ventilator, fighting for her life. Eventually, doctors determined that to try to save Kristen, they would have to induce labor and Kristen lost her baby. Although she improved initially, sadly, Kristen did not survive.

Kristen's father, Thomas, who is hosting the benefit, said, “I wanted to do something in my daughter's memory to to make a difference in this fight against the insidious syndrome that took Kristen's life too early."

ARDS Foundation President, Eileen Zacharias said, "ARDS seriously lacks public awareness, and as a result, ARDS research is severely underfunded. 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 or call 1.312.749.7047.

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Eileen Zacharias
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