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'Support group transformed my life'

PUBLISHED: 14:37 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:30 03 July 2010

A MEMBER of a Hopton support group 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 Breath Easy Great Yarmouth and Waveney Branch for about a year but says it has turned her life around - boosting her confidence after being confined to a wheelchair.

A MEMBER of a Hopton support group 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 Breath Easy Great Yarmouth and Waveney Branch for about a year but says it has turned her life around - boosting her confidence after being confined to a wheelchair.

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

Susan, 60, was diagnosed with chronic lung condition (COPD) seven years ago, but she was used to being 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. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a condition where airways to the lungs are narrowed - limiting airflow and causing shortness of breath. As the condition took hold Susan - mother of three and grandmother to many - was forced 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 she was eventually confined to a wheelchair and needs to carry around a supply of oxygen.

Recalling the first days when she was in a wheelchair, she said: “It was awful and I got even more depressed. Then one of the nurses at the hospital suggested I try the Breath Easy club.”

Susan, who lives in Kessingland, 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.”

A boost in Susan's confidence has seen her give talks at the James Paget about Breath 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 University Hospital.

Her husband Alan, who accompanies her to group meetings and is vice-chairman of Breath 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 purchased for the respiratory ward with the most recent costing just over £2,000.

The chair was purchased with group funds - raised from donations and fundraising events. Breath Easy has received many donations from local groups, the most recent being £470 from Bradwell Bowls Club.

The group, which meets at Hopton Village Hall on the last Wednesday of each month at 2pm, is always looking for new members, especially able bodied people to help with outings and events.

It is holding a special Christmas event next Wednesday at the Corton Hut from 1.30pm.

Anyone interested in joining the group should either go along to a meeting or call 01502 740559 for more details.

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