So how do we create the big breathing breakthrough? The answer is right under our nose: Breathing as One. Just as our lungs operate in tandem, we need to work together as a nation to tackle the common challenges of breathing.
Click on the pictures below to read the extraordinary stories of people who are dedicated to using their breath to make a difference.
Listening to Alex Pangman warble breathy old standards, it’s impossible to believe she was born with cystic fibrosis. Clogging her lungs with thick mucus, the genetic disease reduced her lung capacity to 27% and made it tough to even stand in high heels. Since a successful double lung transplant, the songbird is back on stage and is now singing the praises of organ and tissue donation.
As Head of Respirology and Consultant in Critical Care and Lung Transplantation at UHN, Dr. John Granton is keenly aware of Canada’s rich history of discovery and innovation in the field. Building on the shoulders of giants who have blazed frontiers in lung transplantation and critical care, the tireless physician is furthering our knowledge of lung injury, thrombosis and pulmonary vascular disease.
Joseph Neale is living proof that lung cancer can no longer be dubbed ‘the smoker’s disease’. Although he has never had so much as a puff, the 20-year-old was stunned to learn that he had a tumour that had metastasized and had to have 2/3 of his right lung removed. After his brush with mortality, the talented singer and songwriter is helping to spread the word to the young generation that the disease can affect people at any age.
For an avid tennis buff, respirologist Dr. Mark Fitzgerald has a remarkable capacity to think outside the lines. The much-lauded researcher and physician is determined to tear down the historical barriers that limit communication between medical specialists and physicians. His vision is to dramatically improve models of lung health care and expedite the transfer of patient information.
Susan Tremblett will share with you what it was like to care for a child who had pulmonary fibrosis and then a lung transplant. She will tell you about the emotional rollercoaster, the incessant waiting, the three-times-a-week trips to the hospital, the monitoring for rejection, the medications, the special diet, the lifestyle changes. She will also talk about Run a Lung, the fundraiser she started because of a daughter’s wish.
Here is a video where Susan shared her experience in caring for her daughter, Kayla, who lived with pulmonary fibrosis and bravely underwent a lung transplant. To learn how you can get involved with the Run a Lung event contact Adryon Thompson @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click HERE to watch Susan and Kayla’s story.
Gabriel Roosevelt-Jackman never knows what may trigger one of his frequent asthma attacks. It could be a blast of chilly weather, a bit of cat hair, a whiff of perfume, or just agood old belly laugh. Having grown up with days off school, nights in the ER, inhalers, and constant fear, the teenager hopes for the day when a game of pick-up or band practice won’t pose a potential threat.
When she is looking for inspiration, Dawn Bowdish, assistant professor in pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University, conjures up an image of children baking cookies with their grandparents. Bowdish’s lab is focusing on why the elderly are particularly susceptible to pneumonia and striving to extend lives by developing new therapies that bolster the body’s own natural defense mechanisms.
If Professor Dina Brooks has her way, patients with chronic lung disease will not only engage in more physical activity, but pulmonary rehabilitation exercise programs will also move out of medical institutions and into community centres. Teaching breathing exercises to make daily life easier, the U of T rehab researcher is bringing hope to sufferers of COPD, studying everything from walkers to oxygen use.