Raising funds for copd

By Brendan Grehan

CLONDALKIN woman Letitia Swardt has been living with COPD for the last 12 years. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a disease that makes it hard to empty air out of your lungs. It can include chronic bronchitis, emphysema or a combination of both conditions.

Next month The Echo will be holding a fundraiser for the Tallaght COPD Support Group of which Letitia is a committee member.

Letitia Swardt 21 compressor

Letita Swardt has been living with COPD for the past 12 years

Letitia was first diagnosed with COPD in 2007.

“I had a horrible niggly cough that would not go away. Then I had one chest infection after another. Then they told me I had COPD,” she told The Echo.

The doctors then told Letitia, who is originally from South Africa, to stop smoking.

She said: “I had been smoking since I was 15 years old, anything up to 25 to 30 cigarettes a day.”

In 2016, Letitia’s sister Anne passed away in South Africa from emphysema and it proved to be a turning point.

Letitia said: “Three weeks after my sister died, I had my last cigarette. I did not make the link with COPD and emphysema until she died. She was a very heavy smoker and needed a tube to breathe.”

Dealing with the grief of her sister’s passing led Letitia to have her last cigarette and she has never looked back.

“I think I saw what my sister had gone through and that prompted me to take action,” she said.

Letitia is on the committee and is an active member of the Tallaght COPD Support Group. They meet every Thursday at Rua Red in Tallaght.

She says being part of the group has made all the difference.

“COPD is a progressive disease. It is not going to go away, you just manage it. Being a member of the group makes all the difference.

“It is great to meet up with other people who have the same condition. I look forward to going every week. Everybody needs a support network where we can discuss the issues that face us every day with COPD.”

The Tallaght COPD Support Group meets in the Rua Red café, which is opposite the Luas stop for The Square, every Thursday from 10.30am to midday, while The Echo’s fundraising event for the group will take place in The Square on Thursday, December 5 next. 

The Echo team have set up a go fund me page for the fundraising event in aid of of the Tallaght COPD Support Group, click HERE to donate.

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