IPF Week: Tony's story

Matt Green ran seven marathons in seven weeks in honour of his father.

Matt Green ran seven marathons in seven weeks in honour of his father.

His father, Tony, 68, is living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Tony explains how he first noticed something was wrong:

“In 2004, at the age of 60, whilst playing squash I felt unfit and decided to abandon league play. Over the next two years I had a cough which got slowly worse and I noticed that just running up the road soon made me breathless.  Other than that I felt fine.

"My wife, Marilyn, repeatedly made me go to the doctors but all he did was offer me the usual ‘It's only a cough and it will go away’ treatment. Eventually Marilyn got me to ask for a referral and I went to a specialist who immediately sent me to the Royal Brompton hospital.

“I first visited the Royal Brompton hospital on the 4th November 2008 and after tests they were not sure and asked me to have a biopsy which I had on the 16th March 2009 and the results confirmed that I had IPF.”

Getting Matt’s dad on the correct medication for his condition has been very difficult and has been a case of trial and error in order to regulate the condition and keep him comfortable.  As his lung capacity is steadily decreasing, he is finding it harder and harder to get enough oxygen and now has three oxygen concentrators linked up and is on 24 hour oxygen.

A community nurse also visits him regularly. In December 2012, he contracted the flu which along with his IPF made him very ill but he thankfully recovered. However, everyday infections such as a common cold can really affect him as his immune system is weak and viruses tend to attack his lungs.

Before developing IPF he worked for over 30 years as self-employed mechanic which he had to give up when he became ill. His son Matt explains how IPF has affected his dad and their family, and why he took on the challenge of running seven marathons in seven weeks:

“There are the inevitable low times and this is extremely upsetting for him and those who love him. But, through it all he remains upbeat and positive whenever he can and this has filled us with admiration and pride.

“I had never heard of IPF before my father was diagnosed, but I have since learnt that even though it affects thousands of people in the UK, there is still no known cure. I wanted to undertake a big challenge not only to raise awareness of IPF and raise money for the British Lung Foundation’s work in this area, but to also do something that Dad would be proud of.

"Running seven marathons in seven weeks was really tough but I never thought of giving up despite the bad weather, and having a bad back and ankle. Just thinking of Dad and the wonderful people who have sponsored me kept me going.

“The challenge was certainly hard work, but if it helps the British Lung Foundation find new treatments for IPF, it was definitely worth it”.


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22 September 2013