Raising awareness

Steven Chalmers, who suffers from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, with the oxygen he has to be connected to 24 hours a day.
Steven Chalmers, who suffers from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, with the oxygen he has to be connected to 24 hours a day.

AN Aberdeenshire man is raising awareness of a life limiting condition, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a condition that causes the lining of the lungs to scar and thicken.

Steven Duthie Chalmers is a sufferer of the condition and requires to be connected to oxygen 24 hours a day and take prescribed medication.

Steven says that the condition has no treatment and the only chance of survival is to receive a lung transplant. Steven’s mother also suffered from the condition and died aged just 49, 17 years ago.

Steven also suffers from a secondary condition, Pulmonary Hypertension (high pressure in the arteries that carry the blood from the heart to the lungs).

He said, “I have my wife and two daughters and also became a grandfather for the first time in December. I am keen to raise awareness of this condition, which is little-known. I want to increase awareness of Pulmonary Fibrosis in the population, and particularly in those areas where patients come into contact with social and medical services that may not be as familiar with PF and get the Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust up and running as a registered charity with the aims of increasing awareness of this invisible illness which is blighting so many lives, and to help people living with Pulmonary Fibrosis and by providing a source of help, support, and information to patients so that they can help themselves to cope with the challenges presented by breathlessness.

“It is surprising how many people, including GPs, and nurses in hospitals, have never heard of this illness which causes the deaths of thousands of people every year in the UK.

I am often very weak and in addition, my self-esteem and confidence can be quite low sometimes, although mostly I remain incredibly upbeat.”

Steven added, “Actively participating in all parts of the management of your disease is greatly enhanced by a positive attitude. You may not be able to control the course of your illness, but you can control your attitude and spirit every single day. Do you want to be sad, glad or mad? Pick one. Do you want to be positive or negative? Choose one. A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will certainly make a difference in how you cope with having PF.”

A Yahoo Group has been created to provide support and information for people suffering from pulmonary fibrosis primarily in the UK but from any area. Carers and family members, and people who have already lost their loved ones to the condition are welcome. The address for the Group is http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/pulmonaryfibrosis/.

A UK charity connected to this group has also been set up and is called ‘The Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust’. Any donations should be sent to Malcolm Weallans, Honorary Treasurer, The Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust, 11 Redwood, Burnham, SL1 8JN. e-mail at Malcolm.Weallans@btopenworld.com.

For people living with Pulmonary Fibrosis and wish further support contact the “The Pulmonary Fibrosis Group” via email at pulmonaryfibrosis@yahoogroups.com