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For immediate release
July 15, 2002
NPR: Laura Gross,

NPR® Presents Special Audio Diary Featuring Young Adult's Account Of Life And Death Battle

WASHINGTON, DC--Laura Rothenberg is 20 years old. Odds are she won't live past her early 30s. Laura has been battling a life-threatening lung and digestive disease, since birth – in and out of hospitals and struggling with medical decisions. Through it all, Laura always tries to live a normal life, yet her lungs often get in the way. It's been a childhood most people could not imagine.

“My So-Called Lungs”, a special segment to be broadcast on All Things Considered® on August 5, 2002, chronicles two years in the life of a young girl with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Most of the kids with CF that Laura knew growing up have died. Since she was 19, Laura has been documenting the sounds and scenes of her struggle with illness: from the deterioration of her lungs, to her decision to seek a transplant, and, if all goes well, more years to live and a lot less coughing.

The 22-minute segment is produced by award winning writer and producer for public radio, Joe Richman. Richman is the creator of the “Teenage Diaries” and “Prison Diaries” series and is the founder of Radio Diaries Inc., a not-for-profit production company in New York City, dedicated to helping people document their lives for public radio. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. According to The Los Angeles Times, "Richman, a kind of Studs Terkel of the airwaves, elicits intimate, disarming radio documentaries.”

CF is a genetic disease that currently affects approximately 30,000 people in the United States; it occurs in approximately one in every 3,900 live births. CF is characterized by a build-up of an abnormally, thick, sticky mucus in the lungs and other organs, which leads to serious respiratory and digestive problems. The current median age of survival for people with CF is in the early 30s.

For a list of stations that air All Things Considered, click here.

Radio Diaries, Inc. is a non-profit radio production company committed to producing a new kind of oral history - innovative and original first person documentaries. Past productions include such award-wining public radio series as Teenage Diaries, Prison Diaries and New York Works. For more information:

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.