A SUPPORT group for those suffering with respiratory illnesses and their carers and families is hoping to raise awareness of its work in a bid to attract more people to its monthly get-togethers.
Current members of the Breathe Easy group who suffer with respiratory troubles including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) say the support and advice they receive from fellow sufferers at the group is reassuring and helpful.
The advice on offer from those who have suffered with conditions such as COPD and bad cases of asthma for a number of years can also help carers, family and friends of those who have recently been diagnosed with a respiratory illness and want to find out more about living with a condition.
Debbie Myles, 49, who is chair of the group is a full time carer for her partner Denham Thomas, 61, who is constantly linked to an oxygen supply and confined to a wheelchair after his live was devastated by COPD.
Debbie, who lives in the King Oswy area of Hartlepool, said: “The group is for anyone who is suffering with a respiratory illness or for people who want to find out more or are caring for people with lung conditions.
“It’s a chance to give and receive that support that people may feel they are lacking, a chance for them to ask questions of people who have been in the same situation as them in the past.
“It would be great if we could support even more people in the town and get more people along to our support sessions in the future.”
Hartlepool resident Evelyn Leck admits that going along to a Breathe Easy session was her “last resort” as she came to terms with living with bronchiectasis, a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus.
Evelyn, 66, who lives in the Burn Valley area of town, said: “When I first went along to a session all I could think of was that I was going to end up like some of those who suffer quite badly because I was still coming to terms with the diagnosis and it was frightening.
“But when I went home and thought about it I realised how the group may be a big help and it has proved exactly that.”
Helen Chalmers, 65, who lives in the town centre, is linked to oxygen because of her COPD.
She said: “If you are suffering with certain symptoms that you haven’t experienced before it can be quite frightening but what is great about this group is you can speak to people who are in the same situation who can reassure you that they have had the same thing and it’s nothing to worry about.”
The group meets at the Central Library, in York Road, on the last Friday of every month from 1.30pm-3pm.
For more information about the group call Debbie on (01429) 295061.