Our colleagues at Breathing Space, a community service in Rotherham for
people with respiratory conditions, marked World COPD Day on November 20 with a
range of information events and a special performance by their very own choir.
Scores of people attended the day-long event for a cup of tea and a chat
and to learn more about respiratory diseases, pulmonary rehabilitation taster
sessions and smoking cessation.
The Breathing Space choir regaled the audience by performing a number of
well-known songs – including a few tearjerkers – and they even threw in a
George Ezra hit, to everyone's delight. This was followed by tea and cakes
while people milled about the information stalls, in which our team members
discussed their specialist services.
Breathing Space is the biggest pulmonary rehabilitation service in the
country. It aims to improve people's breathlessness through exercise and
education, individually tailored to the needs of the person, helping them feel
confident enough to manage their respiratory condition and improve their
quality of life.
Jenny Simmonite, a member of the Breathing Space choir, spoke about how
she copes with her respiratory condition.
“It is scary when you can’t get your breath and what you tend to do is
you panic breathe, so you breathe fast and it’s really not doing anything
because what you’ve got to do is breathe slowly. But when you can’t get your
breath your brain says breathe as fast as you can so you’re doing all the wrong
She said she liked the social side of being in the Breathing Space
choir. “It is the contact with people too. The choir is a good team.”
For others, the choir gives them something else.
“The choir makes me feel normal for a whole hour,” said Judith Dalton.
“I do the exercise maintenance programme, and the support staff in there, the
physiotherapists, everyone is really nice.”
Chris Happer, choir member and service user, was diagnosed with a
respiratory illness four years ago and was told he had five years to live. He
spoke about how the facilities at Breathing Space have helped him.
“I see my consultant every six months and he does a test to see how my
condition is. The deterioration seems to be due to the industrial environments
I have worked in all my life, confined spaces, land blasting.”
Chris, who had existing heart issues, was experiencing difficulties with
breathing a few years ago and went to the doctor who diagnosed him with
Non-Specific Interstitial Pneumonia (NSIP).
Chris said: “The lungs will never recover. I had given up work which was
a big thing for me. I come here once a week to the gym and the choir. I have
nine grandchildren and I do everything possible. The facilities here are
brilliant. It is good that I can go here once a week doing things I wouldn’t be
doing without the facilities here. These help me maintain my stability.”
For more information on Breathing Space, click here.