The PHIL Award (Pulmonary Health & Illnesses of the Lung) is a hospital-based recognition and retention program for respiratory therapists who provide outstanding care and treatment of patients. The vision of the program is currently being realized in hospitals across the United States.
The award was named for Philip C. Lamka who died as a result of complications from an Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD). ILD is a broad category of lung diseases characterized by scarring and/or inflammation of the lungs. People living with life-threatening pulmonary disease feel profound appreciation for the healthcare providers who allow them to “breathe easy”.
The award celebrates a key member of that team: the outstanding respiratory therapist . This exemplary professional sees the “person” instead of the “patient”; and he or she is committed to the belief that every breath matters.
In the spirit of The PHIL Award, M.K. Shannon adapted her sculpture, Appreciation, of a sole standing figure, to include in its encircled arms a large and fully opened butterfly. The figure’s lines are clean, strong and quiet; the detailed butterfly in the foreground appears resting, yet ready to flutter. The sculpture was originally designed for The Bennett Gallery in Placerville, California
The unfailing and often background support of the respiratory therapist—who continually seeks more effective ways to enable the patient to breathe easier—is represented by the figure. The butterfly symbolizes the lungs, in their fragility, beauty and vitality. The sculptor illuminates the relationship between the respiratory therapist and the patient; in his or her hands the outstanding caregiver holds the patient’s freedom to breathe easier.
Breathing is natural and the essence of life. Patients with lung disease cherish every difficult breath they take. The FACES Foundation and the sculpture, Appreciation, honor the respiratory professional that strives to make that breath as easy as possible. The FACES Foundation was established in 2006, in memory of Philip C. Lamka. FACES reflects, acknowledges, and advocates for the many “faces” of those living with, and caring for, patients with life threatening lung diseases: the patients; their support network of close family and friends; and those unsung heroes in the respiratory profession, who understand that each breath matters.