PATIENTS with breathing issues paid tribute to the work of staff at a pioneering medical centre, saying the team’s expertise was helping boost their confidence and enabling them to live better lives.
Specialist centre BreathingSpace hosted an open day with choir performances, taster sessions for tai-chi and talks attended by Rotherham United legends John Breckin and Ronnie Moore, who came along to the Badsley Moor Lane venue to listen and ask questions, as well as host a raffle.
The centre treats and supports people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and other respiratory conditions which make it difficult for people to empty air out of their lungs because the airways have narrowed.
Rotherham, because of its industrial past, smoking prevalence and social deprivation, has a higher burden of respiratory disease — 2.9 per cent of the borough’s population (or 7,938 people) have been diagnosed with COPD, one per cent higher than the national average in England.
Geoffrey Davis (77) is a patient with COPD and bronchiectasis who has also had part of a lung removed.
He said: “I’m a prime example of why coming to BreathingSpace and staying the course works.
“They’ve increased my lung capacity from 73 per cent to 80 per cent — now I can walk 25 minutes at a time instead of 15.”
He added: “I really think BreathingSpace are the experts and trust what they are doing for me.
“Honestly, without them, I really don’t feel like I would be here.”
Another patient Sandra Moule, who has a respiratory condition, said: “Being a part of this environment and community has helped me physically, but more than that, it’s helped me mentally, too.
“I feel a confidence I didn’t have before — I feel OK now and comfortable walking around with my oxygen and being breathless.
“I’m no longer sat waiting for the worst, I feel like I’m living with my condition rather than waiting to die from it.”
Other community stallholders at the event included representatives of Baywater Oxygen Services, Get Health Rotherham, Social Prescribing, Speech and Language Therapy, Yoga Sanctuary and Functional Fitness.
Exercise specialist Leon Wormley (top right), who runs local partner service Functional Fitness, said: “I tailor programmes so that people can do things you wouldn’t think about, like getting in and out of a car, lifting a shopping bag or gardening.
“If they can learn to do these things, it’s a sustainable change in their life and that’s the key thing here — helping them to live with their condition.”