Jo was shocked and overcome with fear when she was first diagnosed with a chronic lung condition, afraid of dying gasping for breath and attached to oxygen cylinders. It was through an online search that the 56-year-old connected with life-changing information and support services – there was hope on the horizon.
When Jo was diagnosed, she even didn’t know what ‘COPD’ meant.
“I left the pharmacy with my medication and a booklet. The booklet mentioned a disease I knew of and dreaded. That word was ’emphysema’ and I cried, overcome with fear of dying gasping for breath and attached to oxygen cylinders.”
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), an umbrella term for a group of progressive and incurable lung conditions, causes narrowing of the bronchial tubes in the lungs which makes it difficult to breathe. For people living with COPD, even the simplest of day-to-day tasks can be exhausting.
“COPD affects me every moment of every day. It has far-reaching tentacles and has impacted my family, my livelihood and quality of life in ways I never could have imagined.”
“Even standing to prepare a meal or wash the dishes, can be tiring. On bad days, I need to slow down and take rests. The most challenging part of living with COPD is coming to terms with breathlessness and exhaustion and accepting your physical limitations and the things you can no longer do. For me, the hardest challenge so far has been hanging up my riding boots and selling my horse. Horse riding was always my sport, recreation and passion. How does that feel? It is gutting.”
Living with a lung condition can be overwhelming and isolating. While family and friends are supportive, it can be hard for people to understand the real toll a condition like COPD can have on day-to-day life. For many Australians like Jo, Lung Foundation Australia support services and programs provide a lifeline – a steady hand in a very rough sea.
“My lifeline came when Mr Google connected me with the Lung Foundation Australia webpage. I bunkered down to consume everything I could about COPD and then I rang the helpline. A wonderful lady listened to my plight and put in touch with a local hospital who had just started Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs. My despair started to dissipate – there was hope on the horizon!”
“If you’re newly diagnosed or living with a lung condition, contact Lung Foundation Australia and arm yourself with information and supporting services. Figure out what changes you might need to make to optimise your lung health and try new things until you find what works for you. Most importantly, don’t give up or give in. You will have bad days and setbacks – but tomorrow always offers hope.”
The generosity of our community over the past 30 years has enabled Lung Foundation Australia to grow our much-needed support services and programs, but we need help to ensure we can continue to keep these vital services running.
“COPD is an insidious thief – it keeps stealing bits of your life. First came my breath, exercise and recreation and then my job and my horse. But it can’t take away my fight, spirit and the hope provided and inspired by Lung Foundation Australia.
“Hope, as a patient, is a utopia. Lungs that don’t have to struggle, hearts that aren’t strained. Hope brings freedom and a focus on living, rather than dying.
“Your donation could mean the difference between someone living and dying.”
We are the vulnerable and we need you now more than ever.
Help us raise $300,000 by June 30 to continue to provide life-changing support services and programs to vulnerable Australians. Your gift today will give hope to people like Jo.