Half Marathons in the City

We are excited to announce that Breathing Matters in partnership with Run for Charity are able to offer you one free place at the Vitality North London half marathon on Sunday, 15th March 2015 and one free place at the Vitality Run Hackney half marathon on Sunday, 10th May 2015.

These are two of the biggest half marathons in the UK this year.

Mo-Farah-960x440The Vitality North London half marathon takes you on a stadium to stadium tour of North London, running from the Allianz Park stadium in Barnet, all the way to Wembley Stadium and back to the Allianz Park stadium to a celebratory stadium finish in front of thousands of cheering spectators!

For more information on the event and route, please visit: http://northlondonhalf.com/

Hackney HMVitality Run Hackney is the fresh new half marathon to hit the capital!  Lace up, for a flat run through Hackey and the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

For more information on the event and route, please visit: http://runhackney.com/half-marathon/

The deadlines to apply for one of these half marathons are:

  • North London Deadline: 24th February 2015
  • Run Hackney Deadline: 13th April 2015

Who’s up for the challenge?

Contact Breathing Matters directly on info@breathingmatters.co.uk to register before places run out!





When:    Sunday, 14th June 2015, 10am-1.30pm

Where:    Lee Valley VeloPark, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Cyclotopia brings you an incredible opportunity to visit Lee Valley VeloPark which brings together three cycling disciplines of road racing, mountain biking or track cycling in the iconic Velodrome. Follow the world’s top cyclists at the UK’s leading cycling hub – and raise money for Breathing Matters!
This event has something for everyone from complete novices to experienced cyclists.
Bikes available at the VeloPark.


•    Road Circuit road 2

How many times can you go around the brand new one mile road circuit?

  • Timing tags available at a cost of £2.50 to pay on the day
  • Suitable for all levels
  • Children welcome
  • Bike and helmet available at no charge (NB: fleet minimum height 142cm). Can bring own bike
  • Registration: adults £10, families £20
  • Minimum sponsorship: adults £30, families £60

•    Mountain Trail mountain 2

Challenge yourself to conquer 5 miles of off-road traffic-free mountain bike trail.  Not for the faint hearted! 

  • Blue level recommended
  • Suitable for experienced cyclists
  • Minimum age 9 years
  • Bike and helmet available at no charge (NB: fleet minimum height 142cm). Can bring own bike
  • Registration: adults £10, families £20
  • Minimum sponsorship: adults £30, families £60

•    Velodrome velodrome 1

Experience the Velodrome and cycle on the same track where Sir Chris Hoy and his Team GB and Paralympics GB teammates received their Olympic Gold medals in 2012. This is the fastest Velodrome in the world!

  • For all levels
  • Age 12 and upwards
  • Velodrome package: £50
  • Minimum sponsorship: £50
  • Includes bike and helmet.
  • Package includes one more cycling discipline (road circuit or mountain trail)
  • Only 32 places; first come, first served
  • Timings 10.30am-11.50am & 12pm-1.20pm. Registration 20 minute before time slot.


This bespoke event is a first for Breathing Matters and UCLH Charity and we want as many people to join us to raise awareness and money.
Please raise as much as you can – there is a prize for the top fundraiser!  You can set up a Justgiving page via www.justgiving.com/breathingmatters


For any queries please contactDonna Basire at  breathingmatters@ucl.ac.uk



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Online Fundraising Tips

Thanks for supporting Breathing Matters.  This article is to help you get the basics right when fundraising for us.

Setting up an online fundraising pageJG sponsor me

Set up your own online page on Justgiving from the Breathing Matters Justgiving home page https://www.justgiving.com/breathingmatters/

Personalise your page with information on who you are doing it for, how you are doing it and why you are doing it.

Who: Is this for someone special, perhaps you are setting up a tribute page?  If so, write about them, add lots of photos and explain what this person means/meant to you.

How: What are you doing? Write about your challenge and how difficult a challenge it might be for you. Tell your story.

Why: Explain a bit about Breathing Matters and why you chose to support this charity, and what it means to you to help us in our commitment to find a cure and better treatments for pulmonary fibrosis and lung infections.

Add a target total.

People will be much more inclined to help with your fundraising if they know your story and what this means to you, and how much you want to raise.

megaphoneSpread the Word

Use social media to publicise your fundraising.  You can use email, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, email, YouTube, blogs and texts.  Every share is worth a £5 donation.

Email your friends, family, work colleagues and perhaps members from your health club or other hobbies you may have with your fundraising page address and tell them why you would like their support.  Use an exciting subject title to grab their interest.  Don’t use words like ‘free’ or ‘exciting’ as this might get lost in spam folders. Share your passion and explain your motivation for your challenge.

Put regular updates on your facebook page and regularly tweet your challenge.  Follow Breathing Matters on @breathingmatter and like us on https://www.facebook.com/BreathingMatters and we can retweet and share these.  You can also retweet our tweets which will help explain why you and your contacts are supporting us.

Ask that your emails and social media posts and tweets are forwarded on.

Tip: Ask someone you know will be generous to be your first sponsor – others will see the amount and be encouraged to match it!

You can set up a TextGiving code from your Justgiving page very easily.  Email your code and a suggested amount to donate; it’s very quick and efficient!

Be honest in your social media messages; tell your supporters if it is hard, tell us if something funny happened. Tell us if you have cried or laughed.  Your supporters will share your pain and the laughter with you.

To keep people visiting your page, make regular updates to your page and email your contacts to let them know there are new things to see.  People who have already sponsored you will be interested and it is a polite reminder to those who have not had time to donate.

Keep people updated with your fundraising tally and ask for their help to reach your target … or smash through it!

Think about when you send out emails – people tend to be more generous around payday!

Ask your employer for a donation.  Some of our fundraisers have had their totals matched by their workplace.

Contact the local press to see if they can help advertise your event.

After the Eventfundraising target

Strike while the iron is hot. People still like to donate after the event, so remember to update your page with photos of the day and email/tweet/facebook thanking those who have supported you and asking those who haven’t to do so now to help you reach or surpass your target.  A large amount of money is raised after an event – in fact 20% –  so it is an important part of fundraising.

When your fundraising page has closed and you have your final total, thank your supporters again and tell them what they have helped with.  Perhaps include a thank you message from Breathing Matters …. remember, you may do another challenge and you want them on your side next time too!






Donate Clothes for Charity

Clothes for Charity LogoBreathing Matters are very excited to announce a joint partnership with Clothes for Charity.

Recycling clothes or giving them to charity is a kind, selfless gesture that can help raise vital funds. But it can also be a bit of a hassle. Our supporters have contacted us to ask where they can donate clothes for us. Breathing Matters does not have charity outlets where you can donate and, up until now, we had no method that you could donate in this way.

Now you can with Clothes for Charity!

Clothes for Charity provide a secure, trackable way to donate clothes online. All you have to do is register, nominate Breathing Matters as your charity, request a donation bag and arrange a collection from a place that suits you. Clothes for Charity will email you to let you know your clothes arrived safely. And best of all, while most clothes collection schemes only give £70 per tonne to a charity, Clothes for Charity will give £200 to Breathing Matters.

Take a look at how it works: https://www.clothesforcharity.org.uk/how-it-works/

Please help us spread the word among friends and family; the more you give, the more you donate.

So, now your Spring cleaning will be more worthwhile!!clothes







Why Don’t You Just Give It Up?

no smokingIt’s the New Year, so it’s time for start thinking of some self-improvement. Have you made New Year’s resolutions before, but failed to keep them? I would argue that a resolution is too restraining and negative, I would prefer to focus on adopting habits that keep you healthy. Let’s concentrate on the smokers amongst you. You know who you are?  Have you tried quitting before or have you persuaded yourself that your genes will protect you from the ravages of cigarettes?

First, think of why you should stop smoking and then, when you have decided to (and this might be the difficult step), take the first teeny weeny step. You do not have to throw all your cigarettes away for good – although that might be one approach. Take a small step, develop a new habit and, once it is taken, you are on the road to being an ‘ex-smoker’.  Keep taking little steps that help you develop little habits and you will achieve your aim.

Take Small Steps

What small steps can you take?  Try these:
1.  Develop a disgust for cigarettes. Spend 5 minutes each day imaging the toxic smoke filling your lungs and turning them black, and large globs of fat being deposited in the blood vessels of your brain, heart and legs. The surgeon teeing you up for an amputation operation, etc. Remind yourself of this every time you smoke.

2.  Toss a coin each day. Heads you smoke that day, tails you don’t.   Or, if that is too difficult, ‘tails’ you don’t smoke until midday or something similar. Keep this going for a year and you may reduce your intake by 50% (provided you don’t smoke twice as many on the smoking days).  On smoke-free days, have a shower, wash your hair, put on clean clothes and enjoy the fresh smell that you exude.

3.  Take fewer draws from each cigarette (you are going to have to be honest here).

4.  As an incentive, you could get yourself sponsored for giving up smoking and help a charity at the same time – a ‘Charity Quit’, if you will!

5.  Make the first step to getting expert help.  You can get excellent help from the following:

No matter how small your first step, it is a first step and it will be difficult – if it wasn’t, everyone would do it.  Keep in mind the pluses of being an EX-smoker.  Reward yourself for even a small achievement (not with a cigarette please).

Here are some of the reasons why you should quit (this is taken directly from http://smokefree.nhs.uk/why-quit/health-and-confidence/

Health Benefits

  • You will reduce your risk of developing illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease.
  • You will reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulatory problems.
  • You will protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.
  • You will reduce the chances of your children suffering from asthma or glue ear.
  • You will improve your fertility levels and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • You will improve your breathing and general fitness.
  • You will enjoy the taste of food more.

Your lifestyle WILL improve (after the short term discomfort)

  • You will save money – as much as several hundred pounds a month, if you’re a heavy smoker.  Perhaps some of this ‘spare’ money could be given to charity!
  • You will no longer smell of stale tobacco.
  • The appearance of your skin and teeth will improve.
  • You will feel more confident in social situations – you won’t be worrying about the second-hand smoke you create anymore.
  • As a non-smoker, you may even find you get approached more often by potential new friends and partners when out socialising.
  • Your home will smell fresh and you will no longer be staining your walls with tar.
  • You will reduce the risk of fire in your home.

Share your own stories with Breathing Matters. Post your story on our facebook page or tweet it.fresh air




Answers to Pneumonia Quiz

1. Pneumonia is an infection of which part of the lungs?

b – the alveoli, deep within the lung. Because pneumonia inflames the alveoli, it reduces the lungs ability to take up oxygen and is therefore much more dangerous than commoner lung infections such as bronchitis (an infection affecting the bronchi)


2. What proportion of childhood deaths in the world are due to pneumonia?

a – pneumonia is the single commonest cause of death in children under 5 across the world. Most of children dying of pneumonia live in the developing world, where it can be difficult to get vaccines and antibiotic treatment.


3. What makes you more likely to catch pneumonia?

d (all of the above) – smoking, excess alcohol, and flu (and other respiratory viruses) all weaken the lung defences against bacteria so make pneumonia more likely


4. The bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of pneumonia. Where does it usually live when it is not causing pneumonia?

a – Streptococcus pneumoniae is found living harmlessly in the back of the throat of 10% of adults and 50% of young children. From there it occasionally gets into the lungs and causes pneumonia


5. Who should be vaccinated against Streptococcus pneumoniae?

d (all of the above)– all these groups are at much higher risk of catching pneumonia and should be vaccinated against Streptococcus pneumoniae.


Thanks for taking our quiz: how did you do?

World Pneumonia Day: Take Our Two Minute Quiz

Pneumonia is an infection of which part of the lungs?

  1. The bronchi (the tubes taking air into the lungs)
  2. The alveoli (the tiny air sacs deep within the lung from where oxygen gets into the blood)
  3. The pleura (the lining of the outer part of the lungs)


What proportion of childhood deaths in the world are due to pneumonia?

  1. Nearly 20%
  2. Less than 1%
  3. About 5%


What makes you more likely to catch pneumonia?

  1. Smoking
  2. Drinking a lot of alcohol
  3. Having flu
  4. All of the above


The bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of pneumonia. Where does it usually live when it is not causing pneumonia?

  1. In the back of the throat
  2. In water sources such as air conditioning units
  3. In rats or other rodents


Who should be vaccinated against Streptococcus pneumoniae?

  1. Infants
  2. People aged over 65 years
  3. People with chronic lung, heart or kidney disease
  4. All of the above


For answers, please click here


Autumn 2014 Newsletter – Christmas Song Quiz Answers


Question: How many times does Santa check his list?

Answer: Twice.


Question: Good tidings to you, and all of your what?

Answer: Kin.


Question: On the eleventh day of Christmas, what did my true love send to me?

Answer: Eleven pipers piping.


Question: I’m dreaming of a White Christmas with what?

Answer: Every Christmas card I write.


Question: Why do I want my two front teeth for Christmas?

Answer: So I could wish you Merry Christmas.



Autumn 2014 Newsletter


For Autumn 2014 Newsletter, please click here



Charity Christmas Concert: Tickets Still Available

UCL Christmas

We are excited to announce that The Holst Singers (one of the UK’s foremost choirs) will be giving a Charity Christmas Concert in aid of Breathing Matters.


The Charity Christmas Concert will take place on Friday, 5th December 2014 at 7pm in the new Pavilion in the grounds of University College London, Gower Street. The concert will raise money to help fund research being undertaken at University College London Respiratory by Professor Jeremy Brown and his colleagues into the causes and treatment of bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis is a lung disease that most people have never heard of, yet it is not rare and affects an estimated 100,000 people in the UK of all ages, including children. Bronchiectasis results from damage to the tubes taking air into the lungs (the bronchi). The damage makes the bronchi unable to clear bacteria from the lungs. As a result, patients with bronchiectasis have almost continuous lung infections. Almost all of us has had the occasional chest infection, when for a few days we have felt grotty and had a severe cough, sometimes producing mucky looking phlegm – but patients with bronchiectasis feel like this the whole time, causing them general ill-health and making their lives miserable. Severe bronchiectasis also impairs the patient’s ability to breathe normally, so that eventually they can only walk a few yards without resting, and may die due to respiratory failure. Unfortunately, there is no cure for bronchiectasis, and there has been little research into the best ways to treat patients with bronchiectasis. For about half of patients, we don’t even know why they have developed the bronchiectasis. Despite this, research into bronchiectasis is very under-funded, which makes improving the care of patients with bronchiectasis very difficult.

Holst SingersThe Holst Singers Charity Christmas Concert will include unaccompanied seasonal music by Britten, Warlock, Whitacre and “The Lamb” by Tavener and “The Hymn of Jesus” by Britten and there will also be some arrangements for unaccompanied voices of popular carols and Christmas songs so there will be something in the programme for everyone to enjoy.

The BBC describes the Holst Singers as a “leading chorus on the international stage”. In Jeremy Cole, Conductorconcert, the choir is renowned for dramatic and engaging performances, described by The Times as “interactive concert going at its most revelatory”. Holst Singers’ performances in 2014 have included a celebration of the music of John Tavener at Christ Church, Spitalfields, and Handel’s Israel in Egypt at St. John’s, Smith Square. With the City of London Sinfonia and the choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, the Holst Singers released a CD in 2012 which included “A Ceremony of Carols” and “St Nicolas”. The choir has toured extensively both in the UK and abroad, with visits to Estonia in March 2009, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 2012 (with the Hilliard Ensemble), and Northern Ireland in October 2013.  http://bit.ly/1D4E9tL

Tickets cost £35 (£25 for students), which includes light refreshments served at 7pm and a substantial donation to Breathing Matters to fund research into bronchiectasis. Seating is unreserved.

Tickets and further information available from Donna Basire at breathingmatters@ucl.ac.uk

If you are unable to attend the Charity Christmas Concert at UCL on Friday, 5th December 2014, but would like to make a donation in aid of Professor Brown’s research into bronchiectasis, then please contact Breathing Matters at the above email address or donate directly via the Justgiving Page https://www.justgiving.com/breathingmatters/