Friday 4 December 2009

Christmas Dinner

We all met at lunchtime last Wednesday, at the Dyffryn Arms, Bryncoch, for a lovely Christmas lunch. It was great to all be together for a purely social occasion - not that our monthly meetings aren't social events as well as covering some of the more serious aspects. It was the first of our festive events, the next being the Catwg bell ringers, with mince pies and wine.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Legal Details

At our last Breathe Easy meeting on Friday, Janelle and Andrew, from a local legal partnership, talked to us about the many complexities of Living Wills, Power of Attorney and the ever vexing question of who pays for long term care, if and when it is needed. There was an awful lot to take in, all in one go, but if the exchequer is not to gain by getting all your wordly goods, it's something we all have to think about, sooner rather than later.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Trip to the Brecon Canal

On 22nd Septemebr a lot of us joined other Breathe Easy groups for a lovely afternoon, with cream tea, on a canal barge. We joined the barge at the basin in Brecon and then floated gently to the aqueduct, where we could all get out to enjoy the view. And then back we went to Brecon - a lovely peaceful and enjoyable way to spend a day.

Friday 18 September 2009

Palliative Care and Publicity

Our respiratory nurse, Chris Burrows, gave us a very informative talk about what can be a very emotive subject. Not many of us want to think about end of life, but it is going to happen to all of us, with or without lung disease. We heard about the work of the community nurses, the respiratory team, our GP's, the hospital and hospice care. This is a service which is growing and expanding all the time which is very reassuring.

She and Katrina also joined us to for photographs for the press with the spirometer, smokerlyser and flutter devices that we were able to buy for the team with the money raised from our annual abseil event. These items cost £2,864. Also at todays meeting we were able to give British Lung Foundation Wales a cheque for £3,000 to help them in their work for all people in Wales with a lung condition. So I think we can all be very proud of ourselves to have done so much and to have had so much fun doing it

Tuesday 25 August 2009

The Kennedys

Janet John was a mine of information about the goings on in the Kennedy family - they are a soap opera on their own.
We held our AGM and reported a successful year, the group is growing and we were successful in raising over £5,000 from our abseil event and various donations. We bought equipment for the respiratory team at Cimla Hospital, namely a spirometer, a smokaliser and some flutter devices. It was nice to be able to send cheques to both Swansea Bay and Merthyr Tydfil Breathe Easy groups - money raised by them in taking part in our abseil event back in April.

Monday 22 June 2009

The library service

Bethan Lee came to talk to us about the local library and the wide range of services offered these days - it's far from just books, although they are the main reason I use the library. Did you know in some branches you can play on XBOX or WII ? Not everyone knows about the wide range of large print books available now, or the home service offered. This can be seasonal so if you are housebound in the winter due to bad weather and exacerbations, just call your local library and they will put you in touch with this service. Also you can now browse and order books online and the Oxford English Dictionary is available to all library members. What an amazing service and it's all free too.

Breathe Easy Week 2009

Three of us went to the Welsh Assembly, on Wednesday 17th June, to explain to our AMs the importance of Pulmonary Rehab and we got a chance to see and chat to friends from other Breathe Easy groups accross Wales. Many of the politicians we spoke to said they would write to their LHBs. We know that the service is patchy accross Wales, ranging from good to non existant and that all people with COPD need good rehab to enable them to live with the condition, indeed it is a NICE recommendation that this should be the case.

Sunday 31 May 2009

Port Talbot Charities Fiesta on 23rd May

After a rather cold, wet week, the sun shone for the Port Talbot Charities Fiesta and we had a lovely day in the shopping centre. Lots of people stopped to talk and we were able to pass on information about Breathe Easy and the British Lung Foundation. I hope some of these people will come along to our Breathe Easy meetings, or one nearer to where they live.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Abseil at Dinas Rock

What a lovely day we all had, grandparents, grandchildren, mums, dads supporters and thrill seekers, all joined in our third abseil fundraising event at Dinas Rock in Pontneathvaughan in the Neath Valley. The people from Call of the Wild, who run the event for us free of charge, did their usual terrific job, encouraging some, joking with others. Even a bit of rain couldn't dampen spirits.
Ruth Madoc and her husband John came along to lend their support. People came from as far away as Chesterfield and Weston Supermare to abseil. General supporters came from Trowbridge in Wiltshire and from Liverpool. Our fame spreads far and wide.
Already we have collected £3,200 for Breathe Easy Neath Valley and British Lung Foundation Wales and there is still much more sponsorship to be collected.
So, once again, a successful day and thankyou to all who supported either by abseiling, giving, stewarding or just being there. See you all again next year.
I will publish the final figure when I have it.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Glantawe Lions Easter Charity Fete

On Saturday 11th April we had a stand at the Glantawe Lions Easter Fete. A good chance to talk to a lot of people about the work of the British Lung Foundation Wales and to sell a few items and raffle the two terrace tickets donated to us by Cardiff Blues - thanks to them for supporting us.

Sunday 22 March 2009

A tough life

Laurence MacPherson Jones and Julian Bester spent the afternoon telling us about Julian's earlier life in Poland and later in Russia and then on to his wartime experiences. Julian's family were farmers in Poland and then were forced to go and begin all over again in the Ukraine. When Julian was fourteen his whole family were taken prisoner and sent to one of Stalin's labour camps, felling trees along the Volga River. He told us of the dreadful conditions and inhumanity he experienced there. He then went on to serve in the army in northern Iraq, Italy - famously Monte Casino. What a life and what a remarkable man. After all that he is full of life and laughter.
Mary has resigned as our chairman and her replacemnet is David who we all know will do a grand job. Many thanks to Mary for the work she has done since the group started back in 2006. Such a lot has happened since then.
A couple of weeks ago quite a few of us went to the Swansea group meeting to hear about Haemair. This is an amazing device that re-oxygenates the blood and they hope in about ten years time to be able to implant this and do away with the need for transplants. As transplants rarely happen because of lack of organs available this is a huge leap forward and offers us all hope. Let's hope their work continues at a fast pace. It is being developed here in Swansea - just google Haemair to read all about it - it is so exciting.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Dr Banks talks about oxygen

Dr Banks came to our last meeting on Friday 20th February and talked at length about oxygen. We all learned so much about how we should be using our oxygen. LTOT (long term oxygen therapy) is, surprisingly enough what it says. For people needing this, the more hours a day they can breathe in oxygen (at least 15 hours), the more benefit they will get. Ambulatory oxygen is, again, surprisingly exactly what it says. It must be breathed while you are active and on your feet - it's no good having a puff to recover once you have got breathless.
It's good to have this reinforced, and thank you Dr Banks for doing so.

Chris Mulholland, head of British Lung Foundation Wales was there as well and she talked to us about the work of BLF Wales, which leads me into our abseil event in April. Please support us and BLF Wales by going to the link to our justgiving appeal at the bottom of this page Thank you !

Friday 30 January 2009

Abseil at Dinas Rock on 26th April 2009 - a charity event

The abseil will be run by Call of The Wild, a professional company, based locally in Seven Sisters, who have plenty of experience running these events. They are winners of the Welsh Tourist Board Team Building Company of the Year. They are generously giving their time and expertise free of charge which is a huge boost to our fundraising - our grateful thanks to them. They can be found at tel 01639 700388

In our first year we raised just over £6,000. Last year we raised just over £7,000. What dizzy heights should we aim for this year ? the sky's the limit !
So far we have bought a spirometer and flutter devices for our local respiratory team at Cimla Hospital. With this and other money raised BLF Wales has been able to fund the first BLF nurse in Wales, start up BLF Active, an exercise programme to keep us fit and help us live longer and easier lives. BLF Wales also funds vital research into lung health such as the vital work going on in Swansea. See the link to Swansea Bay Breathe Easy - why not go along to the meeting in March to learn more about this exciting project ?
What are you waiting for ? Email me to get your entry form and join us for a great experience, a fun day out and help raise vital funds for local people living with lung conditions. Or check out our justgiving page at the bottom of this page and donate online.

Sunday 18 January 2009

A talk about being energy efficient

At our latest meeting on 16th January, Gareth Miles from NPower gave us quite a few useful tips about how switching off, using energy efficient light bulbs, draught proofing and insulating can save us pounds - maybe not enough for a trip abroad but certainly enough for a meal out or a day trip, so well worth taking the trouble.