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Taking on the Great Wall of China

COPD nurse consultant Matthew Hodson is walking along the Great Wall of China.

My challenge for 2014 is to walk parts of the Great Wall of China leaving in April 2014. I will spend nine days trekking steep and uneven parts of the wall meeting and staying in local villages, all to raise money for the BLF.

Why the Great Wall of China? I ask myself the same question as I venture out for my daily run, often in the pouring rain. Although I enjoy running I didn't want to run a marathon so I thought I'd try a different challenge that would also test how my own lungs would work.

The wall's altitude made me to wonder how it would really feel to be at such height and experience breathlessness, while undertaking normal activity such as walking. I also thought I could monitor my oxygen levels and, with parts of the Great Wall of China as high as 980m above sea-level, this seemed on paper like a good challenge.

I signed up and that's where my story starts. I specialised as a respiratory nurse a long time ago and I have always been a supporter of the BLF. I had asthma as a child, which prevented me from joining the army, and I’m always asked if this was the reason I went into respiratory nursing.

The BLF help me support my patients through information, and they support health care professionals through research and education. Supporting a BLF nurse also ensures that there are specialist nurses locally who can provide appropriate training and support for patients.

Respiratory disease remains one of the highest reasons for hospital admission and mortality. It's my role as a nursing leader to raise awareness of lung disease and act as a voice for patients.

The BLF is an incredible charity helping everyone with a lung condition and supporting people who care for loved ones affected by lung disease.

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18 March 2014