Fundraising bid as lung disease figures take a massive increase in Lothian

Lawrence Cowan, Director of Communications at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland with Miles Briggs MSP (right).
Lawrence Cowan, Director of Communications at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland with Miles Briggs MSP (right).

The number of people who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD) in NHS Lothian has increased by 70 per cent since 2011/12, to 19,167 people, a higher increase than any other region in Scotland.

To mark this year’s World COPD Day, MSPs joined Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s own superhero at the Scottish Parliament to highlight a fundraising bid for more support for people with the incurable lung disease.

The charity’s director of communications, Lawrence Cowan, spent the whole of November in a super-hero costume to raise funds for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Advice Line, and to urge other people to become fundraising super-heroes.

His dad has COPD, and is living with the breathlessness and other symptoms that the lung condition causes.

MSPs got a chance to wear their own super-hero costume to pledge support for his fundraising efforts, and highlight how important it is to tackle COPD. A donation of just £10 funds a call made to the charity’s Advice Line nurses, who provide a lifeline for people struggling with their condition.

This week Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland revealed that a record 139,187 people in Scotland have been diagnosed with COPD – an increase of 26 per cent since 2011. More people than ever before are needing support and rehabilitation to be able to manage their condition and cope with the impact it can have on their lives.

The charity is urging the Scottish Government to back significant reform to the way people with lung conditions access rehabilitation and support. They say that thousands of Scots are missing out on vital support like Pulmonary Rehabilitation - and that the NHS is also missing out on significant savings as result.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian List MSP, said: “In NHS Lothian we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people diagnosed with COPD, who face a daily challenge of being out of breath.

“This advice line Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Advice Line is an excellent resource for people who want support and practical advise for living with COPD.”

Lawrence said: “My dad’s a hero, the kindest and most encouraging man you’ll ever meet. The lung disease COPD is taking his breath away, and every day he essentially feels like he’s been running a marathon.

“COPD is one of the main causes of death and disability in the world, and there’s no cure. But we can help people to live a full life for a long time. One way to help is to make sure there’s someone there to listen and offer advice when it matters. That’s what Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s heroic Advice Line nurses do.

“Everyone who fundraises for us is a super-hero, they don’t need a cape and costume. They can do anything – bake, run, dance or shake buckets – it all makes a difference. We rely on you to raise the vital money we need to help people live their lives. And we’ll help you all the way – the first step is to get our Fundraising Super-Hero pack for inspiration and ideas.”

Get a fundraising pack at – www.chss.org.uk/supportus/fundraise-for-us/fundraising-hero-pack/.

Donations to Lawrence Cowan’s fundraising bid can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fundahero