Business Helping to Make Project Breathless a Reality

Wisconsin man's going on 2012 Hot Rod Power Tour to spread awareness of Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Bruce Sponholz, of Theresa, didn’t know anything about Pulmonary Fibrosis until he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease in 2003. That’s when the disease “tried to take my dreams from me,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Sponholz’s now has a new dream. And it’s being made possible thanks to one Waukesha business.

After years of trying to restore his 1972 Ford Gran Torino and being taken advantage of by various businesses, according to his Facebook page, the Torino found its place at Streetworks Hot Rods on North East Street. There Matt Backhaus is completing the work at a fraction of the cost.

“He thought if he was going to call this car ‘Breathless,’ it has to take his breath away,” Backhaus said about the restoration project.

Additionally, a group of hot rod enthusiasts, including Backhaus, plan on taking Sponholz on the 2012 Hot Rod Power Tour from Detroit to Arlington, Texas.

The road trip should be challenging in itself but added challenges will come as Sponholz is on an oxygen machine, according to Backhaus.

“My dreams almost completely given up on have new life with the support of new friends, and the car community we can achieve my goal to do the 2012 Hot Rod Power Tour, trying to some how get her noticed enough to reach those who can help me to make Pulmonary Fibrosis a household name,” Sponholz wrote on his Facebook page. “Breathless just grew beyond what most or I would have done if I wouldn't have to make her stand out for Pulmonary Fibrosis awareness. I could have just thrown the 351 Cleveland and C6 trans in her and had a chance to drive her long ago but for PF she just grew into some thing OH SO BREATHLESS.”

What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?

According to the U.S. National Library of Science, pulmonary fibrosis is the “scarring or thickening of the lungs without a known cause.”

“No one knows what causes pulmonary fibrosis or why some people get it,” the website states. “It causes the lungs to become scarred and stiffened. This stiffening may make it increasingly difficult to breathe. In some people the disease gets worse quickly (over months to a few years), but other people have little worsening of the disease over time.”

However, the Centers for Disease Control website suggests that pulmonary fibrosis has been linked to certain workplace occupations.

“Long-term exposure to a number of toxins and pollutants can damage your lungs,” states the Mayo Clinic’s website. Those toxins and pollutants include silica dust, asbestos fibers, grain dust and bird and animal droppings, the website states.

Other causes could be radiation treatment, medications and medical conditions such as tuberculosis or pneumonia.

Jennifer Bulandr March 06, 2012 at 03:31 PM
What a great project Bruce! If people would like more information about pulmonary fibrosis please contact us at www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org or visit us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/PulmonaryFibrosisFoundation Jennifer Bulandr Director, Community Outreach Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
Mishka Michon March 06, 2012 at 06:03 PM
We are delighted to see this project up and running. We have had other events around cars but none as special as this. So sorry about your diagnosis and there are organizations out there to help people. One is the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis at www.coalitionforpf.org, or on Facebook, http://www.facebook/Coalition-for-Pulmonary-Fibrosis. We are here to talk with you or anyone with questions about the disease at 888-222-8541. Best wishes. The Coalition.


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