Promoting better lung health at work

Sue lost her dad to pulmonary fibrosis - but is using her pain to help others.

Awareness stand

In 2009 my family and I found out my dad had scarring on his lungs, a condition called pulmonary fibrosis, which in my dad's case was caused through him having tuberculosis in his youth. He still tried to live life well and started going to regular exercise classes to help him stay active.

Sadly, 2 years later, he died suddenly of a chest infection. It was devastating. He was our dad, our granddad and our great-granddad. He was the centre of our family. We wanted to understand more about his lung condition and found the British Lung Foundation after searching on the internet.

The more we read on the BLF website, the more we realised how many other people are going through what my dad did, what we did. I found that not only does the BLF do a lot of research into treatments and cures for lung disease, but it also supports people living with lung conditions and their families. I wish I’d known about their help earlier.

I set up a Breath of Life fund to raise money in my dad’s memory and I really wanted to raise awareness of lung disease for other people.

Fundraising and awareness

A year after we lost my dad, I asked the BLF to join me at a charity fundraising day where I work, Legal & General’s Kingswood office. I realised that many people I worked with weren't aware of lung disease and what they could do to look after their lung health.

To help raise awareness, we put up banners, showed people the BLF’s health information leaflets, made 100 handmade cards and asked people to make a donation to the cause. I was so pleased to see my colleagues coming over to hear about lung health and make a contribution.

We raised an amazing £1,500 which will make a real difference to people who are going through experiences similar to my dad's. It was such a success that we held another fundraising day in 2014, this time raising £1,200, and I'm hoping to do it again this year.

Promoting better lung health at work

Lung Health test Love Your Lungs

After such a great response to the fundraising events, I wanted to do something extra. Having seen how much interest the fundraising events had generated and how little people knew about lung health, I started campaigning for one of the BLF’s workplace lung health testing days, Love Your Lungs.

On the day, 2 BLF nurses came to our office to talk to people about looking after their lung health at work, offer support, and test how well their lungs are working. More than 260 people came along for the tests and at one point there was a sea of faces flooding the corridors waiting for their turn. It was overwhelming to know so many people wanted to get involved.

Someone I work with told me how thrilled they were to find out that, at 32, she had the lungs of a 20 year old. Others spoke to me about friends they’d lost to lung disease, and one even said her husband had recently been diagnosed with suspected pulmonary fibrosis – the same condition my dad had.

The whole day was a great success, and really quite emotional. I'm really proud that my company was so supportive of the Love Your Lungs event. We asked people what changes they’d made since their lung test, and most said they knew more about how to look after their lung health and were exercising more and eating more healthily, which is fantastic.

I will be continuing to support the BLF's quest to raise awareness of better lung health, in memory of my dad. If this helps just one other person, then I'm making a difference.

Find out how we could run a lung testing event in your workplace.


Comments

After attending myself, I would recommend all employers consider a similar event. Good to know my employer (L&G) support the well being of all their staff. Well done Sue for being the orchestrator of this event.
This is a terrific idea I wish we could get more companies doing this, I think I will try and get my old boss interested, some of the staff there work in the bakery and could be affected by the flour, if we could get all the staff to get tested that would be great.

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16 February 2015