Being able to breathe is an essential part of life but for those suffering from lung-related diseases it can be a constant battle.
Laurie Russ knows the struggle all too well and as an ex-smoker he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema) 13 years ago.
“I have a lot of difficulty breathing,” he said.
“I can’t do the things I use to do like mow lawns or anything too strenuous.
“I have to pace myself.”
A respiratory specialist recommended Laurie join a lung support meet to connect with others suffering the same or a similar disease. Initially Laurie had to travel to Port Macquarie or Taree to meet with others.
Laurie joined the Camden Haven Live to Breathe support group when it formed eight years ago.
Meetings are on each month and guest speakers from health groups are invited to address the group.
Laurie said the basic aim of the group is to share information and experiences with others who have a lung disease or similar condition.
“They also enable members to take part in social activities, obtain access to new information and support each other through the difficult times,” he said.
Laurie and his wife Diane, who is also a lung disease sufferer, attend the meetings together and say they have gained a lot from hearing the experiences of others.
Laurie said he was hesitant to join at first but now he loves to go along each month.
The Live to Breathe group meets every second Friday of the month from 10am until 12pm at the Laurieton Community Health Centre.
Patients, families, friends and carers are all welcome.
For more information please contact Diane or Laurie on 6559 7800.