Saturday 18 December 2010

A bit of a whiteout !

We were supposed to have a party with Swansea Bay Breathe Easy group, but look what we got. Very lovely but not safe to be driving in. The ladies from Briton Ferry will join us on another date in the New Year for an hour of music, movement and fun. We can all look forward to that.
Meanwhile, can I wish you all a very good Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Brecon Awareness Day

We had a lovely time at the Bishop's Meadow restaurant in Brecon, meeting people from many of the other services available in Powys to help people who are living with various different conditions. Support to be independent and stay in your own home is so important. We gave out a lot of information on lung conditions and were thrilled to find, at the end of the day, we had sold just over £100 of toys and Christmas cards. British Lung Foundation Wales and Breathe Easy Neath Valley can always find a good use for all the money we raise. All of it is spent helping to raise awareness or in practical ways to help all the people in Wales who are living with a lung condition.

Fire Safety

We can't be too careful where fire is concerned, so, on 19th November, Gary Davies gave us a talk, showed us a film (scary stuff) and lots of helpful hints about how to be as safe as possible from fires in our homes. Lots of common sense and working fire alarms seem to be the best way. I always leave my keys in the doors when I am locked in at night. I have a horror of being trapped inside and not being able to put my hand on the keys, and, this double glazing we all have now, is almost impossible to break.

Saturday 16 October 2010

How not to puff and gasp !

Many apologies - I plain forgot to do the blog in September. We had a quiz which was fun getting the old brain cells working on various bits of trivia.
This month Cath and Chris came along to talk to us. Chris had a lot to tell us about self management of exacerbations - aimed at keeping us out of hospital and catching infections before they make us really ill. Extremely useful information, well worth remembering and taking onboard.
Then Cath reinforced breathing techniques to ease breathlessness and ways to clear the airways when they become blocked.
The main message is "Don't panic, breathe slowly using your diaphragm and wait for things to calm down". This puts us in control of our condition instead of letting it control us, which is what we all want. Then we can enjoy life more.

Sunday 22 August 2010

AGM and a long chat

Once again we have had a successful year, recruiting new members, raising money and campaigning for better services for people living with lung conditions. Following on from our "Meet the Patients" events at the Welsh Assembly, pulmonary rehab is becoming more widespread across Wales. All that lobbying of Am's does pay off.
Chris Mulholland talked to us about the work of British Lung Foundation Wales in improving services with emphasis on early diagnosis for all lung diseases. We also talked about all the Breathe Easy groups, in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board area, working together for improved pulmonary rehab services and follow on exercise programmes available to all. If we can achieve that it would be wonderful and a good way to spend the money we have raised over the year.

Monday 5 July 2010

Margam Park

The craft market in the orangery at Margam Park was a splendid affair. We were there with our awareness stand, dolls and toys, books and frames. All in all a lovely day. We gave out a lot of information to people who came seeking it, made £75 for the British Lung Foundation Wales, recruited two people who would like to abseil with us next Easter and collected loads of signatures on the petition to prevent people smoking in cars where children are present.
Many thanks to our two very able helpers who made sure everything was priced correctly, counted out the correct change and kept our stall neat and tidy.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Visit to the National Botanical Garden of Wales

What a lovely day we had - perfect weather, neither too hot nor too cool, just right in fact. Eleven of us met at the site in Llanarthney in the morning and spent most of the day wandering around the gardens enjoying the plants and the lovely setting.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Meet the Patients at the Welsh Assembly

Yesterday four of us went down to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay. We shared a minibus with the four from Swansea Bay group. Peter Black was going to talk about the unfairness and difficulties we encounter when travelling by air with oxygen. So I had a long chat with him about my portable oxygen concentrator and how some airlines won't let me use that and want to charge me £100 each way to use their oxygen and I could find myself sitting next to a child with a gameboy or someone with a laptop, both running off the same kind of batteries. To hear the debate follow the link on the right hand side of the page. Select Plenary session on 16th June, then go to item 6, short debate to hear Peter talk on our behalf.
Later we had a long chat with Mick Bates about the fact that there is no rehab in Powys and the unfairness of the lottery of where you live in Wales. He has promised to do something so I have sent him my experience - living on the border of Neath Port Talbot and Powys. NPT has a good rehab service and a team of dedicated respiratory nurses to care for us when we are ill and to advise us on how to stay well.
Bethan Jenkins was very interested to hear of the difficulties of many patients in getting to the locations where rehab is held. This is a problem all over Wales. It is such a rural country with scattered communities and it is very easy to become isolated if you don't drive and you are far away from an infrequent bus route.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Breathe Easy Week 2010

We joined a whole load of people in the old Remploy Factory in Ystradgynlais to set up our stall for an event for Carers Week. Lots of people signed our petition to prevent smoking in cars where children are present - go to the BLF Website to sign this petition online.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Port Talbot Charities fair

On a wet and windy day we set up our Awareness Stand and goods for sale, in a marquee in the Aberavon shopping centre. The horrible day did not deter the good people of that town. They came in large numbers to see us and all the other people with stands at the fair. We talked to a lot of people about Breathe Easy and how it helps to join us if you have a lung condition. And we sold a lot of toys, aprons, peg bags ang other goodies made by our group, raising £60.

Discrimination for oxygen users on planes

On Thursday we were delighted to welcome Hywell Griffith, from BBC Wales, and Kevin Sullivan, from British LUng Foundation Wales, to our home to film an article about the discrimination encountered when trying to fly away for a holiday break. Some airlines charge to use oxygen, around £100 per leg of the journey and others provide it free. Some won't let me use my battery operated portable concentrator, which is approved as safe by the Civil Aviation Authority, but on the same flight I may see people using laptops, mobile phones or Gameboys - what's the difference?

You can hear the article via the link on the right, or read the Welsh version.
This really must stop. All we ask is to be able to visit places in the same way that other travellers can without extra charges.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Neath Fest Community Fair

This took place in St David's Church, Neath, on Saturday 8th May. Unfortunately the day was cold and wet, not unusual for this year, but the people who came enjoyed themselves. We sold a few toys and bits and bobs, and talked to lots of people about our Breathe Easy group - new members ? I hope so.

Sunday 18 April 2010

Cath Harper talks about exercise and other stuff.

We had a very lively chat with Cath about the benefits of exercise, the downward spiral into inactivity and depression if you don't, and the upward spiral into better muscle tone and feeling better if you do. Whichever way you look at it, exercise is the way to go.
Then, as our meetings often do, we ended up discussing all sorts of things and booked Cath to come back later in the year to talk about shifting sputum. It's amazing how many laughs you can get out of such a disgusting subject. We all loved her paint chart of sputum shades though - very useful in an exacerbation to be able to call the nurses and say "I am producing number nine today."

Friday 9 April 2010


Last night we were presented with a large cheque, both size and amount. Two employees of HSBC Bank abseiled with us last Sunday and HSBC Bank have matched the amount of sponsorship they raised, much to our delight. Also, good news, we recruited quite a few more people for next year's abseil event.
A BIG thankyou to the abseilers, their sponsors and the bank, for their generosity

Monday 5 April 2010

This was our fourth year staging our fundraising event and it just seems to get better and better. This year we had sunshine, showers, hail and wind, but no one cared about the bad stuff as they all seemed to be having such a good time.

We had sixty one adults, abseiling the big rock, and fourteen children.
Lots of spectators and supporters came too.
At the end of the day we had already collected £2,546 and there is still a lot of sponsorhip to be collected, what dizzy heights will we reach?
It's what we call a great day !
Many thanks to Call of the Wild who don't charge us for putting on this event each year, which means that every penny raised is spent to help the one in five people in Wales who are living with a lung condition.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Birds in our gardens

We spent a delightful afternoon with Amanda Skull, talking about the rise and fall in numbers of bird visitors to our gardens. I think we surprised ourselves on our knowledge of the birds we see regularly at our bird tables - we scored ten out of ten on Amanda's top ten chart. It's amazing to think that starlings, which used to be the thugs of the bird tables, are now on the endangered list. Let's keep on feeding them and enjoying them in our own back gardens.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Ancient Egypt

How nice it was to see some Egyptian sunshine on a cold day in February in South Wales. Lillian Bath gave us a lively account of her, and her husband's travels in Egypt. Those bronze age people certainly achieved some incredible feats of engineering using only copper tools. They must have been very inventive to have solved all the problems they must have encountered when carving, tunneling and building. Nowadays we just pick up the phone and call a "man who can !"

Saturday 6 February 2010


Why not join us for an exciting experience this Easter and support a great charity at the same time. If you can't, you can always donate using our justgiving page.

Friday 5 February 2010

NEW ! - portable concentrators from Air Products.

Lynne Sandhu from Air Products, and Hannah Howard, the nurse who does our oxygen assessments, came to our meeting on 15th January, to demonstrate the portable concentrators which are to be made available to us. These will make it easier for people needing oxygen for 15 hours a day to get away on holidays - no more arranging in advance to have equipment delivered to a holiday address.
These devices are pushed, or pulled on wheels,thus limiting the type of ground they can be taken on - no strolls on a beach or a river bank, they require a flat surface. If any of us are issued with one of these we will have to hand back any portable cylinders or liquid oxygen we have now.
So, these will increase flexibilty but will limit mobility. What a shame that Air Products have decided to supply two different portable concentrators, the Inogen One and the SeQual Eclipse, which will do the same job, instead of extending the choices to us by offering the smaller, and easily portable, Airsep Freestyle.
We were told that you can't suit everybody, but if we had been offered a choice of the larger model to suit the LTOT patients and the lighter weight portable to suit those patients needing ambulatory only, We think the needs of more people would have been met.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

The Catwg Bellringers

The ladies of the Catwg Bellringers entertained us well at our Christmas meeting. We ate mince pies and sang carols, all very relaxed until they said "Right, your turn now," and handed the bells over to us. Shock, horror and much laughter. Well, we proceeded to do bellringing by numbers, and actually managed to produce some recogniseable tunes, and a bit of harmony, I am proud to say, once we had a bit of practice. Adrian Bailey and Kevin Sullivan, from British Lung Foundation Wales, joined us - thanks to Kevin for the photos, and the Catwg Bellringers for fun event.

An award to be proud of

Emrys Evans, Chairman of British Lung Foundation Wales, came to our December meeting to present the group with a certificate for Excellence in Fundraising. He joined us for tea, mince pies and a chat and talked to us about the importance of fundraising to enable British Lung Foundation Wales to expand it's work to make life easier for all people in Wales who are living with lung disease. Funds were raised throughout the year in various ways. We held our annual abseil event in April, which raised £5,000. We were left bequests and concerts were held in Port Talbot to raise money for the group. We also had a donation from the Inner Wheel group in Neath. Awareness Days, collecting tins and sales of craftwork all contribute to the cause.