National Respiratory
Patient Advocacy Award

The National Respiratory Patient Advocacy Award is a collaboration of the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) and The FACES Foundation®. The award commemorates a vital member of the healthcare team: the respiratory therapist. This consummate professional appreciates the “individual” instead of the “patient” and is dedicated to the principal that every breath matters. Nominations come from facilities across the continuum of care where registered respiratory therapists are actively engaged as a champion of patient family centered care.

Award finalists are chosen by a national review committee, with representatives selected by the AARC and The FACES Foundation. Each year, the award recipient and two other finalists are honored before an audience of patients, caregivers, advocacy groups and clinicians at the Annual Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit held a day prior to the AARC Congress.


The Sculpture


In the spirit of The National Respiratory Patient Advocacy Award, MK Shannon adapted the sculpture “Unity.” Unity, a pewter sculpture sitting atop a black marble base, consists of a trio of figures lifting a fully opened butterfly. The figures represent the triad of support upon which the person with life-threatening pulmonary illness depends. The figure on the left represents the patient’s loved ones: family and close friends. The figure on the right represents the integrated medical team. The center, and central, figure is the committed, gifted respiratory therapist, who works side by side with the patient, families and the health care team. The respiratory therapist is key to improving lung function; the lungs are represented here by the extended wings of the butterfly. It almost appears as if the butterfly emerged from its chrysalis and is ready to take flight. The symbolism resonates for those who have watched an RRT continually seek more effective ways to enable patients to breathe comfortably.

Breathing is natural and the essence of life. Patients with lung disease cherish every breath they take. AARC, The FACES Foundation, and the sculpture “Unity” honor the outstanding respiratory professional who strives each and every day to make that breath as easy as possible.

Big Ideas Theater 2017: National Respiratory Patient Advocacy Award

President and Co-founder of The FACES Foundation Sharman Lamka discusses the purpose of the National Patient Advocacy Award