Robert Davidson

Heather and Robert Davidson had an opportunity to talk about an advance care plan when Robert underwent a lung transplant in 2009. “We knew there were risks with the surgery and rejection afterwards, but we chose to focus on a positive outcome, which we were fortunate to experience,” says Heather.

Years later, when Robert went through a series of infections, he brought up advance care planning. “Robert asked me to gather our sons and their wives together to discuss his advance care plans and his wishes,” remembers Heather. “Our sons got quite upset at first, but everyone came to realize that this was not about us, but about what Robert wanted when the time came. It gave us all peace of mind that we were all on the same page.”

As Robert’s health began to deteriorate in 2018, he connected with a palliative care team through his family doctor. They got in touch regularly and he felt free to ask them questions about the end of life and care options. “He wanted to know what it would be like. He looked forward to those discussions,” says Heather. “He could ask what he wanted and get straight answers and he didn’t have to worry about upsetting anyone.”

On April 26, 2019, Robert went into hospital and he passed away while asleep within days on May 1, 2019. “It was a comfort to know that he went the way he wanted to,” says Heather.

There is no doubt that Robert Davidson, CPFF’s late founder would have been the first person to ask how CPFF could help people living with PF during the COVID-19 pandemic. He would then have got to work helping those needing information, reassurance and support in these uncertain times.

May 1, 2020, marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Robert Davidson, who lived with IPF and established the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) in 2009, less than two years after his own diagnosis and a few months before receiving a double-lung transplant.

He founded the organization to raise funds for research, to provide reliable information to the public, patients and governments and to offer support programs to those affected by pulmonary fibrosis.

Within 10 years, CPFF raised more than $1 million to invest in research, including funding several Robert Davidson clinical fellowships, launched the CPFF website, established support groups across the country, developed a Canadian Patient Charter and successfully advocated for improved access to anti-fibrotic medications in all provinces and territories.