My father and COPD
Samantha became a BLF supporter when her dad died in 2011.
Our dad, Alexander Hall had never smoked in his life, yet was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As a family, we were devastated by his death and very traumatised by the effect that this had on our very close family.
The work of the British Lung Foundation became very important to us as we experienced first-hand the equipment and support that was necessary to help COPD patients have a better quality of life. Following a sudden deterioration in his condition, our dad had to use a non-invasive ventilator for most of the day and throughout the evening. He never once complained but bravely managed the equipment the best that he could.
As his family, we quickly normalised the equipment and became fairly expert in its usage! Our dad's consultant explained to us that the effort involved in breathing when using this equipment would be the equivalent of running a marathon each day - hence the running theme.
Our dad was a strong family man who exemplified many important values that have become embedded in all of our lives, particularly those of love and respect for one another. He was a perfectionist who was able to persevere and encouraged his four children and his grandchildren to have self-belief and be the best people that we can be. As the one year anniversary of our dad's death approached it felt important to do something to honour his memory.
I wasn't quite ready to run a marathon (although this would be a desired future challenge) but a half marathon seemed a fitting tribute. Our dad was born, bred and lived all of his life in Preston. He was a proud supporter of the famous Preston Guild. When it was announced that as part of the 2012 Guild Celebrations (that only occur every twenty years) there was to be a series of four road races, it seemed ideal.
I enlisted the support of my brother Steve and my husband Andrew and together we ran the four races to raise money in dad's memory and to be used to help support others who are affected by lung disease. On the dawn of the half marathon the weather conditions couldn't have been worse; heavy rain, cold and windy!
However, we battled through and we were all delighted to get to the finishing line with our family and mum Christine, cheering us on. It was extremely poignant that the final event, a ten mile road race, took place on the weekend of his anniversary.
I had run this race last year and sadly dad passed away later that evening. I recall with pleasure the pride I took in sharing my experience of this race with dad but couldn't really complain that I had felt out of breath. It seemed very fitting, if not emotional to run the race again - but this time in support of the British Lung Foundation.
We will continue to raise money for this extremely worthwhile charity. We have entered the ballot for the Great North Run and have our fingers crossed that we will be successful. Our dad is forever in all our hearts and we will continue to honour his memory.