Louisville Doctor Recognized as Hero In and Out of Operating Room

University of Louisville surgeon to receive Honorary Chair Award this Saturday for life-saving transplants, philanthropic efforts

Dr. Victor van Berkel, Associate Professor of Surgery in the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Louisville, will be recognized for his years of work with lung health patients, including double-lung transplants, and as a champion of the American Lung Association.

He will receive the esteemed Honorary Chair Award this Saturday, October 31, at the 12th annual Breath of Fresh Air Bash at The Olmsted in Louisville.

“Everyone should remember that despite all of these incredible challenges that our country is facing right now, the everyday issues of patients with lung problems still remain. Lung cancer is still a scourge in our community. Pulmonary fibrosis is still this mysterious horrible disease that forces people into needing lung transplants. COPD still affects 16 million Americans,” said Dr. van Berkel.

“So while the coronavirus has rightly grasped everybody’s attention, it’s important for us not to forget about these other issues that continue to impact the lives of the people that we love. That’s why now more than ever our support of the Lung Association is so important. The Lung Association works to save lives within our community and is powerless to do so without our support,” he said.

Dr. van Berkel has supported the Lung Association in a variety of ways for several years. The University of Louisville has been a sponsor of the Breath of Fresh Air Gala for multiple years and he helps raise thousands of dollars through the event, and he raises awareness of Lung Association programs and events.

He joined the University of Louisville in 2010 to be the director of the lung transplant program and has subsequently developed a busy clinical practice focusing on transplants and the treatment of thoracic malignancies. In 2017, he was promoted to the position of Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery. His current research interests include large animal models of pneumonia, utilizing ex vivo lung perfusion to maximize lung transplant organ availability, as well as utilization of breath analysis to detect early stage lung cancer and lung transplant rejection.

He will be recognized at the event, themed as “A Spooktacular Soiree,” where attendees will drive-in and participate in the ‘touchless’ event from their cars. This means they will view activities on a giant outdoor screen, check-in from their mobile device, drive-through to pick-up their meals and will participate in the live and silent auctions via mobile bidding.

The Breath of Fresh Air Bash is sponsored by the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, and the University of Louisville.

The event takes place on Saturday, October 31 at the Olmsted in Louisville. Reserved parking at $150 per vehicle includes two boxed dinners and beverages (additional meals may be purchased), signature cocktails, and trick or treat bags for kids.

Almost 90 cents of every dollar raised goes to the Lung Association’s programs and services, including research, advocacy and public health education. More information, tickets and sponsorship information is available here.  

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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