Sunday, 17 July 2016

Friday 15th. July meeting and we had five new members who were all welcomed into our group.  This was a significant boost to our numbers and hopefully this will continue.  We had very interesting talk from Mary Williams who works with Neath Police and talked about staying safe in your home and outside.  Lots of information and advice and a lively discussion around such things as scams, nuisance phone calls, junk mail etc.  I think these things are a menace to all of us, and we should be very wary of anything which sounds too good to be true.  It probably is..
  This was followed by Rhiannon from the COPD team who demonstrated inhaler technique.  Anyone who uses these devices needs to know how to use them correctly or they are of no use whatsoever.
  If the summer ever comes this year enjoy it whilst you can.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

On Friday 17th. June we had the relaunch of Breathe easy Neath Valley.  What a turnout, we had 57 people present from all over the NPT area,  There were talks from Dr David Vardill the chest consultant from Neath Port Talbot hospital, who talked about lung desease and what effect it can have on you, also about manageing you condition, he then answered questions on that subject,
Rhianon Kendrick from the COPD team talked about her work and Pulmonary Rehab.  Then Joseph Carter, head of BLF Wales talked about the work of the BLF and how it can help all those who have a lung condition.  The audience were then treated to me talking about what BE Neath does and how good it is to be a member of this group.
  Later in the afternoon Gareth Marsh talked to us about a fascinating sujbject
, The Nos Gallan road races which are help every New Years eve in Mountain Ash to commemorate the life of a man who according to legend is the gratest runner who ever lived.  If you are interested in learning more about this just search for Nos gallan and there it will be.
  All in all an interesting afternoon.
  As you will have realised, I shall continue with the blog, but perhaps not as regularly as my wife did.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Sadness and pride

Good morning to everyone who has followed this blog over the years.  I have to tell you now that Margaret Barnard [my wife], sadly passed away on Friday 8th. April, so I fear that the blog may not continue.  As a memorial to Margaret I have set up a just giving page to try to continue her fundraising legacy.  Please take a look and if you are able donate so that her work may continue.  Just search for Just Giving, then search for Margaret Barnard and follow the instructions.
Douglas Barnard

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Happy 10th Birthday

It doesn't seem long ago that we held our first Breathe Easy meeting in our lovely Owain Glyndwr Community Hall and here we are celebrating our 10th birthday.

Our chairman David looks ready to tuck in with a glass of champagne.

We had an unusual speaker too - a funeral director and he managed to chase away many fears built up by afternoon TV advertising about the cost of funerals. He took us through a breakdown of costs, ie types of coffin, crematorium, burial plot, hearse or hearse plus cars etc. What it all boils down to of course is if you want more than a basic funeral it will cost more. He estimated that a basic funeral would cost between £2,300 to £2,800, which is a far cry from the £7,000 we are often told on afternoon TV advertisements. He also talked about doing a preplanned funeral, which would be paid for at todays prices. That is always worth thinking about.

It was surprisingly quite a light hearted afternoon and we ended up with some funny funeral stories - here's one that made me chuckle. It was midwinter, icy conditions and the road was slippery. The crematorium was at the top of the hill. The hearse got so far then began to slide back. The following cars managed to get to the side to allow it to pass with only the odd bump or scrape, until it reached the bottom of the hill, where the police car. which had been directing traffic was parked. And, yes, you guessed it, the hearse slid right into it. The daughter of the deceased was heard to shout out "My mother's coming back!" imagine being the policeman reporting the damage to his patrol car.

Friday, 11 March 2016

March newsletter


Breathe Easy Neath Valley
Margaret Barnard
1 Gwar Y Llyn
Onllwyn Road
SA10 9NS



Thursday, 10 March 2016

Dear All
First of all I am really sorry that we felt it necessary to cancel the abseil this year, but it became increasingly obvious that I am not going to recover from my recent hospital stay in time to give the event my best. Hopefully we will be back on track, business as usual next year. We have had a good run so far. This would have been our tenth abseil and we have raised £44,350 over those years. So I think we can be quite proud of ourselves.
Our next speaker will be Scott, from Les Davies Funeral Directors, from the Neath Funeral Home. So have your questions ready – i.e. prepayment, how much, what type, how many choices, religious or secular, etc. The list goes on.
I know we are a month late but we will celebrate our tenth birthday in March. The cake is ordered; just bring yourselves in celebratory mood.
Doesn’t it make you feel good to look out of the window and see the sun shining ? Let’s hope it lasts. A long warm spring would be lovely.
Pam Walters is working hard with GP surgeries in parts of ABMUHB, identified as having high occurrences of people with COPD. She is launching new Integrated Breathe Easy groups in those areas. Our turn, as an established group, will come later in the year, possibly in May. It will be great if we can reach and support more people. We all know how being a member of a group like ours can help so much for people living with all lung conditions.
Best wishes
One person in five in Wales is affected by a lung disease. We are here for every one of them.
Mae clefyd yr ysgyfaint yn effeithio ar un o bob pump o bobl yng Nghymru. Rydym ni yma ar gyfer pob un ohonyn nhw.
BLF Wales, One Caspian Point, Pierhead Street, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF10 4DQ, 03000 030 555 (x 1701)   M 07900 400325
e:  web:  helpline: 03000 030 555
Registered Office 73 - 75 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7ER. t: 020 7688 5555 f: 020 7688 5556 e:
A company limited by guarantee. Registered charity no. 326730  VAT number  648 8121 18


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Living with COPD

This write up has been a long time coming because as the meeting was taking place in Neath, in February, I was in hospital in Reddich with yet another wretched exacerbation of my COPD. I am getting pretty sick of this happening this winter, I have never been ill like this before, even though I was diagnosed eleven years ago. Let's hope this is the last one and I can look forward to spring.

Our members used the meeting time to talk about the problems of living with COPD and the effect it has on their lives.
  1. we usually don't look ill and so people don't understand why we need to lean and rest, sit for a while, use a Blue Badge parking space etc.
  2. so many inhalers make life confusing ie what each one does, how to use it properly. It was decided that the pharmacist should always instruct how to use each inhaler. 
  3. having a wash/bath/shower/cleaning teeth/hair washing can be exhausting. 
  4. the speed of the onset of an exacerbation is frightening. There maybe a couple of days of feeling generally under the weather, and then WHAM ! it's like walking into a brick wall. Suddenly your chest is tighter and you can't breathe. We all need the security of rescue meds in the home.
  5. often just too exhausted to eat, think or make simple decisions
  6. arranging outings etc has to be carefully thought out as simple tasks take a long time.
  7. getting exhausted just going to the toilet - bowel movements being especially difficult.
  8. a carers concern was when to call in which service - ie respiratory team, the GP, dial 111 or 999
But after they had all gone through this depressing list, it was the usual tea and biscuits all round and general laughter. Life is not grim all the time with COPD once you have learnt rescue breathing techniques, pacing yourself and learning enough about your condition to recognise when things are going wrong and knowing when to call in the professionals.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Abseil at Dinas Rock 2016

 I am really sorry to say that we have had to cancel our abseil this year for unforeseen reasons. It will be business as usual next year though. Hope to see you then.

Have you ever thought you would like to abseil ? Well, now's your chance.
We are holding our annual event in the Neath Valley in S Wales (just off the M4) 
Just call or email me and I will send you everything you need to know to join us on a fun day.