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Stories from November, 2016


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Gold Quiz: Autumn 2016 Newsletter

1964 James Bond movie – Goldfinger

Pyrite – Fools Gold

1849 California event – Gold Rush

What King Midas had – Golden Touch

Kanye West song – Gold Digger

Former name of Ghana – Gold Coast

Oil – Black Gold

Francis Drake’s ship – Golden Hind

San Fran bridge – Golden Gate

What our supporters have – a Heart of Gold!!!


Support Our Christmas Appeal

xmas-appealWould you like the opportunity to make a difference this Christmas and take part in our Christmas Fundraising Appeal?

In the UK, approximately 1 in every 7 people are affected by some form of long term respiratory illness, and over 1 in 4 will die.  Almost 9,500 people die each year in London alone due to poor air quality.  Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a disease with a poorer prognosis than almost all cancers and for which there is no cure apart from transplantation. It is a disease where the respiratory system is irreversibly scarred, and breathing becomes harder and harder.  Mean life expectancy is 3 to 5 years post-diagnosis.

Christmas is an exciting time for most families, but it is impossible to enjoy when a family member is struggling for breath and can’t join in the fun.  This year, we have an exciting project that we would really love you to help us fund, and what better Christmas present could it be to simply help someone to breathe.

blood-clotThe money raised will fund our anticoagulation project for pulmonary fibrosis.  Patients with PF are known to suffer more from blood clots in the legs and in the lungs which can prove fatal.  We will investigate in a small group of patients whether simple treatment with blood thinners is safe in patients with pulmonary fibrosis and improves their lung function. This project has been fully approved by our local and regional ethical committee and takes use of our unique imaging programme using novel imaging in patients with PF to pick up an early response to therapy. This study has stimulated a lot of international interest and the results are eagerly awaited.

To remain independent of any drug companies, we plan to fund this project independently. We have already secured funding for the research team and our costs will be purely drug and imaging related.

For further information or if you wish to donate to our Christmas Appeal, here are ways you can help:

Ways of Donating:

  • Via our Justgiving Page:
  • Or you can set up your own fundraising page from our lead Justgiving page.
  • Donate via text: Simply text “BMPF22 £XXX” to 70070
  • Email us on if you want to set up a bank transfer.
  • Ask your company to get involved and donate their ‘Secret Santa’ for this great cause.
  • Send a cheque made out to ‘Breathing Matters’ to us at the above address.
  • Spread the Word!

Thank you for helping someone breathe this Christmas!


A Christmas Carol – Jane’s Story

jane-walkerJane Walker was forced to give up choir singing upon developing Bronchiectasis. How does she revive her passion? She shares it.

Bronchiectasis is an abnormal increase in the size of the bronchi, which are the tubes that take air into the lung. With the increase in size, bacteria often get caught in these tubes, which often result in chronically infected bronchi.

Jane Walker is the woman behind the Breathing Matters Christmas carol concert, and from 2006, Jane had to give up her passion of singing due to suffering from repeated chest infections. Upon referral to UCLH, in 2011 Jane was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis.

Before developing Bronchiectasis, Jane’s life had been centred around music; she was extraordinarily talented, and she loved to sing. “Singing has been part of my life from a very young age”, Jane says. “I started lessons when I was 13, then I went on to play the flute, I got my grade eight in both! I studied Music, and achieved my degree and post grad PGCE to teach.”

With all of this musical talent to offer, success soon followed Jane, and she later went on to sing with a professional choir, the Holst Singers. Jane explains that one of her most memorable moments was taking part in the premiere of John Tavener’s, The Veil of The Temple; an eight hour all-night performance in the Temple Church, and the longest piece of music composed in Western European classical music. “I also sang at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, recorded CD’s with the Decca label and took part in various concerts that were broadcast live on Radio 3”, Jane says.

However, when Bronchiectasis struck, Jane suffered prolonged chest infections, which were exhausting and debilitating; and forced her to discontinue with her singing. “Some days I would wake up with phlegm producing cough that would go on for up to an hour”, Jane explains.

Jane battled with her Bronchiectasis, and in September 2013 she attended the Breathing Matters Breathtember Celebration in the Refectory at UCL. At the event Jane found presentations informative; she learnt more about research into lung diseases, and realised that such research is underfunded, and not given the publicity it deserves, often due to the misinformed perception that lung diseases are something related only to smoking.

“But I have never smoked and have a lung condition”, says Jane. “I thought a lot about the presentations and decided that I want to do something to fund research”, she adds.

Jane got in touch with the team at Breathing Matters, a charity set up to raise awareness and work with patients to help find a cure and develop better treatments for Interstitial Lung Diseases, and mentioned that she used to sing with a professional choir. Jane suggested that she could contact the choir, to see if they’d be interested in performing in a fundraising concert for Breathing Matters at Christmas.

“I missed singing with the Holst Singers and I knew this would be a great way to maintain my connection with them”, Jane says. “The team at Breathing Matters instantly became excited by the potential of the event, and even more so when the Holst Singers said yes!”

Jane explains how Breathing Matters is a fantastic charity that is very aptly named: “Breathing Matters an awful lot when you are singing or playing an instrument –I am now so happy that even though I cannot sing myself anymore, I can encourage others to share my passion – especially now that the concert is an annual occurrence!”

“I hope that the work we do to raise awareness and raise funds for research into Bronchiectasis will help to give this lung condition the recognition it deserves”, Jane concludes.

This year’s Breathing Matters charity concert will take place in the historic St Pancras’ Church in Euston on Friday 13th December 2019 at 7.30pm. The evening will begin with a presentation followed by a programme of Christmas music sung by the choir. To buy a £25 ticket and for more info, please follow this link:

Christmas is A-Coming

christmas-tree-blue-vector-illustrationFor those of you interested in supporting us by buying charity Christmas cards, you can order directly online with sell both paper cards and, for those of you who are more green in nature, they also provide online cards to email to your friends and family. They also supply corporate cards so you can put your company name on the front cover.  Up to 50p per card is donated directly to Breathing Matters.

For those of you around the London area, why not come along to our Charity Christmas stall on Friday 25.11.16 11am-2pm at UCH Atrium where we will be selling stocking fillers, jewellery and designer handmade Christmas cards.

If you are interested in purchasing our handmade Christmas cards, which Jane Walker has designed, contact us directly on

Would you like to find out what type of Christmas charity supporter you are?  Read our article at


Don’t Let Flu Catch You This Year

bug-chasing-manThe ‘flu, or influenza virus can cause infections all year round, but in the UK, it is most common in the winter. There are many strains, some of which are worse than others, such as swine ‘flu (H1N1 strain) which tends to have a more rapid onset, high fevers and stomach upset and has caused fatalities, often in previously fit adults.  ‘Flu affects 10% of the population each year, but rises to 25-30% during an epidemic. In contrast, adults have approx 2 to 3 colds per year and children 5 to 6.

Do I Have ‘Flu or a Cold?

Features of ‘Flu Features of a Cold
  • Symptoms appear suddenly
  • Leaves you exhausted and unable to move, affecting the whole body
  • Can cause complications, including pneumonia, sometimes fatal
  • Lasts for one week, then you get better
  • Symptoms appear gradually
  • Affects only nose, throat, sinuses and upper chest
  • Still able to function
  • Recover fully in a week

Vaccination Against the ‘Flu

Anyone can get the ‘flu and, the more a person is in close contact with people who have the virus, the more likely they are to get it.  Certain at risk groups are advised to have a ‘flu vaccination. They include:

  • Everyone over the age of 65.
  • People of any age with lung diseases, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes or lowered immunity.
  • Anyone living in a residential or nursing home.
  • Carers of those at risk.

The UK is fortunate to have a safe and effective vaccination against the ‘flu, which is provided free of charge by the NHS. Those most at risk are advised to have a vaccination every year. This is because the ‘flu virus changes slightly every year.  Despite popular belief, the ‘flu vaccination can not give you ‘flu. It’s true that some people experience symptoms of a heavy cold at the same time or just after they’ve had the ‘flu jab – this is simply a coincidence and the symptoms are caused by one of the many common cold viruses in the autumn and winter.  It is still possible to suffer heavy colds after a vaccination, as the ‘flu jab only protects people from the ‘flu virus, not other viruses.

The ‘flu vaccination is available from October each year.  Anyone who thinks they need it should talk to their doctor or nurse.

How to Treat the ‘Flu

Antibiotics are of no use in treating ‘flu. Anti-viral medication is available from the GP for at risk groups, but it needs to be taken early on in the disease to stop the virus multiplying, and may only reduce the symptoms rather than treating the infection.

The best ways to treat the symptoms of flu are:

  • Get plenty of rest. The body uses a lot of energy fighting infections, so resting for the first couple of days gets it off to a good start.
  • Keep warm.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and try hot water with lemon, ginger and honey to relieve symptoms such as sore throat.
  • Take paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches.

Always contact your doctor if you’re not getting better after a few days, if you’re unduly short of breath or if you’re coughing up blood or large amounts of yellow or green phlegm.

How to Keep Healthy and Avoid Getting the ‘Flu

  • Keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet.healthy-man
  • Take regular exercise.
  • Get enough rest and relaxation.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Take regular vitamins and bump up your vitamin C.
  • Wash your hands often and keep a bottle of antibacterial handclean around.
  • Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing, especially if they’re not covering their mouth and nose.
  • Use and bin your tissues.