Wednesday 12 November 2008

British Lung Foundation Wales Annual Conference 2008

Five of our group were at the British Lung Foundation Conference, held yesterday, November 11th, in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. I always enjoy these gatherings, meeting people from other groups and making new friends. I was particularly happy to see Flo. who I met last summer in Aberaeron at the Welsh Cob Festival. We came face to face sporting our cannula's and said "Snap!" She told me she felt she was a long way from any Breathe Easy Group and felt very isolated out there in Pembrokeshire. And now she tells me she will be one of the founder members of a brand new group. Well done Flo, may your group flourish.

We started the day with a two minutes silence followed by various talks and discussions. Chris Mulholland, Head of BLF Wales, gave us an overview of the work done over the previous year and the aims for the coming year. The big project is the BLF Active Programme, aiming to get trained people to run exercise programmes accross Wales, available to all with lung conditions.

Then Dr Emrys Evans, Chairman of BLF Wales, talked to us about the benefits of exercise, improving muscle tone, feelgood factor, and the important fact that everyone can exercise, they just have to find their own level.

After that we split into two groups for workshops on getting the best from your doctor, Dr Noemi Eiser, Medical Director BLF, and your pharmacist, Andrew Evans, Pharmaceutical Adviser to Cardiff LHB. Always be prepared with questions you want the answer to and ask for written information to take away with you - they should all have the relevant BLF leaflet to hand. Use the medicines review offered by many pharmacies now. It's a new service which checks that we have the right medication - worth checking if you have been taking the same stuff for years. There may be something much better out there to try.

At lunch time we had a chance to mingle and chat and to see the exhibitions ranging from Pensions to Air Products and many things in between.

In the afternoon Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation talked about the need to continue raising money to fund the work of the charity - research grants, BLF nurses, Get Active programme, publishing information pamphlets, - I could go on for ever, so if any philanthropists are reading this blog, donations will be welcome at BLF Wales.

At the end of the day we had presentations and, as you can see, our group did rather well and I was thrilled to receive a personal award - many thanks to the group for nominating me and thanks to BLF Wales for these awards.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Cough your way to an Oscar

We had a lot of fun at BBC Wales in Cardiff yesterday. Doug and Margaret joined June from Cardiff and Shan Evans from British Lung Foundation Wales to help make a recording for BBC Radio Wales to encourage people with a cough to go and see their doctor to get checked out properly and treated if necessary. It's not so easy to cough on demand so a fair bit of giggling went on too. Thanks to Eiry Thomas, (Casualty, Torchwood, Under Milkwood etc) who did the voice, for supporting BLF Wales in their work.
So, from Sunday 2nd November, after the 9.00am news, and from then on throughout the week, listen out for the coughs on BBC Radio Wales.

Saturday 18 October 2008

October Meeting

We had a good attendance this month and received a lot of useful information from Karen Williams from Care and Repair in Neath Port Talbot area. What a good service they offer to the more vulnerable people in our society. It's good to know that they have lists of workmen who can be trusted. It is difficult, unless you have the benefit of "word of mouth" recommendations, to know who to trust, and so easy to make a mistake. She brought us a gift each of an emergency light, a cosy fleece blanket, pen and lots of information about the services offered.
Care and Repair can be contacted on 01792 321122

Saturday 27 September 2008

Day out at St Fagans

What a lovely day we had, the sun shone showing the museum off at it's best. Some of us rode on the golf cart and benefitted from an interesting commentary and fountain of knowledge from the driver. The rest of us walked or rode our scooters. We explored the old shops, pottery, forge, Celtic Village, farm, castle, gardens and all the other varied attractions that are there.

Sunday 21 September 2008

September Meeting

We had a nice large group at this month's meeting, on Friday 19th September. It was good to see two of our members who haven't been able to get to recent meetings back with us again.
Christine West, our Occupational Therapist, was unable to make it, with her gadgets and advice, so we will have to invite her for another day.
Bethan Jenkins AM had a very busy afternoon, listening to various issues we wanted to bring to her attention.
Fingers crossed for good weather on Thursday for our day out at St Fagans. We have the golf carts booked to trundle us around the site - it sure takes the stress out of the hills.

Friday 22 August 2008


We have had a very successful year financially, £6,000 has been given to the British Lung Foundation, to further their work in Wales. We are getting closer to buying equipment for the Respiratory Community Nurses at Cimla Hospital.
We have worked hard at getting ourselves known through the press and various Awareness days and this year it is all falling into place. More and more people are learning about us and the work we do and we have attracted new members, Helen, Basil, Edna and Jan have all joined us this year.
Mary (chairman), Margaret (secretary) and Lynne (treasurer) will remain in office for the following year.

We were delighted to see Claire and Paul Bethell, and Dylan, looking so full of beans. We first met Dylan two years ago at Meet the Patients in Cardiff and have kept in touch ever since. Although they live in Barry, it's good to have them as members of our group. Dylan enjoyed fooling around with our new BLF sweatshirts.

Saturday 16 August 2008

Breathe Easy Officers Forum

Members from Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Newport, Swansea and three of us from Neath, as well as Chris Mulholland, Shan Evans, Dr Emrys Evans and Kay Byrne (our temporary press officer), met in the Village Hall in Llanarthney.What a lovely hall, in such a lovely rural setting too.
Kay did an interview and article in the South Wales Evening Post last year with three of our group. My doctor had the story on the surgery waiting room notice board, he thought it was such a good anti smoking article.
It's good to meet up with the other groups to exchange news and ideas. We talked about campaigning and spreading the word that there are many groups across Wales. We are only managing to reach a small number of people living with lung conditions and it would be good to be able to include more, as we know just how supportive our groups can be.
Kay talked to us about getting the attention of the media, in order to get stories about lung conditions and about our various events in the newspapers, on the radio and TV.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Welcome Support

Great news. We have just heard that The Inner Wheel in Neath have adopted us as their charity of the year. This is wonderful as it both helps us to raise awareness amongst the people of the area and any monies raised will be used to help people in the valley who are living with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma and a whole range of other conditions.

We are really pleased to have contact with this group and hope we can work together over the year, and get to know more about each other on a social level.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Are we the group for you ?

Have you heard of Breathe Easy Neath Valley ? We are a support group for all people in and around the Neath Valley who are living with lung conditions. We meet every third Friday in the month, from 1.30 until 4.30 in the Owain Glyndwr Community centre in Waun Ceirch, in Neath.

We are a part of British Lung Foundation Wales and we are continually working to improve respiratory care in our area, across Wales, and indeed the whole of the UK.

We go to the Welsh Assembly to meet our AM's and talk to them about our concerns. We raise money to be used locally and by BLF Wales for their work.
Watch this space for updates on all our activities.