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Group gives her a breath of hope

PUBLISHED: 20:22 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:04 05 July 2010

A MEMBER of a support group based near Lowestoft has told how it has transformed her life after she was diagnosed with a chronic lung condition.

Susan Morrison has only been a member of the Breathe Easy Great Yarmouth and Waveney branch for about a year but says it has turned her life around, giving her renewed confidence after being confined to a wheelchair.

A MEMBER of a support group based near Lowestoft has told how it has transformed her life after she was diagnosed with a chronic lung condition.

Susan Morrison has only been a member of the Breathe Easy Great Yarmouth and Waveney branch for about a year but says it has turned her life around, giving her renewed confidence after being confined to a wheelchair.

The group, part of the British Lung Foundation, meets monthly at Hopton Village Hall and offers information and support to people with lung diseases.

Susan, 60, of Kessingland, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) seven years ago but used to be independent, running her own greeting cards business.

To begin with, Susan's mobility wasn't badly affected, meaning she was free to lead a normal life and continue working.

COPD is a condition in which airways to the lungs are narrowed, limiting airflow and causing shortness of breath. And, as the condition took hold, Susan had to give up work.

“Once I gave up work I got depressed,” she said. “It's a very lonely disease.”

Unable to get around unaided, the grandmother was eventually confined to a wheelchair and now needs to carry around a supply of oxygen. Recalling her first days in a wheechair, she said: “It was awful, and I got even more depressed. Then one of the nurses at the hospital suggested I try the Breathe Easy club.”

Susan has been a member of the club for about a year and can't imagine her life without it. “I found going there and meeting people with my condition or similar problems helped me realise I am not the only one. It helped to build up my confidence, it gets me out of the house and it has given me a purpose,” she said.

That boost in confidence has seen her holding talks at the James Paget University Hospital about Breathe Easy, and she has been involved in training days for new doctors learning about respiratory problems.

The group recently bought a special needs reclining chair for ward one at the James Paget.

Husband Alan, who accom-panies his wife to group meet-ings and is vice-chairman of Breathe Easy, said: “People with breathing difficulties tend to put on weight because they are unable to exercise. The chair is large and has pressure points so people can sleep in it. It is also easy to wheel round.”

It is the second chair the group has bought for the respiratory ward, the most recent costing just over £2,000. It was purchased with group funds that had been raised from donations and fundraising events. Breathe Easy has received many donations from local groups, the most recent being £470 from Bradwell Bowls Club.

The group meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 2pm and is always looking for new members, especially able-bodied people to help with outings and events. Just go along to a meeting or telephone 01502 740559.

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