The Echo partners with COPD Support Group for fundraising

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A LOCAL support group for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – an incurable disease which makes it hard to empty air out of your lungs and causes shortness of breath and tiredness – is The Echo’s chosen charity partner for this year’s fundraiser.

Now in its third year, The Echo’s annual fundraiser is held every December for a local charity or organisation, as a way of giving back to the community and highlighting the important work of local charities and groups.

ECHO COPD 01 compressor

Echo staff members with Tallaght COPD Support Group at the launch on Tuesday

The money raised from this year’s event, which will see Echo staff and well-known members of the community saddle up to take part in a static bike challenge in The Square next month, will go to the Tallaght COPD Support Group.

COPD, which mainly affects smokers, regardless of whether they’ve quit smoking or how long it’s been since they last smoked, is a disease which makes it hard to empty air out of your lungs, and can cause shortness of breath and tiredness.

Nicky Coules, the PRO of the Tallaght COPD Support Group and a former People Before Profit councillor, told The Echo: “I was very pleasantly surprised when The Echo asked us to be the charity partner for their fundraiser.

“The fact that we were asked was a great feeling – we feel a little honoured – and all donations will be greatly received.

“One of our main aims, apart from running the group, is to publicise both the group’s existence and the ailment.

“There are 100,000 in Ireland who have been diagnosed with COPD, and it’s estimated that twice that number are undiagnosed.

“There are loads of people out there who are unaware that they have the condition, and if they’re diagnosed, they can get the appropriate help and medication.

“The fact that people will see us in the paper and on the day of the cycle is hugely beneficial, and it’ll give us a chance to communicate directly with people.

“It’s an incurable condition, but it’s a manageable condition.”

The Tallaght COPD Support Group offers both practical support, in the form of exercise classes that are tailored for COPD sufferers, as even though the shortness of breath that many sufferers experience can make participating in exercise seem off-putting, it has been proven to help with the condition, and social support, as many sufferers can become isolated as a result of the limiting affect the condition can have.

“COPD can be life-limiting,” explained Mr Coules, “so we encourage people to join the group because it’s a social thing as well.”

Mr Coules said the money raised  will assist the group in continuing to carry out exercise activities for COPD sufferers, including activities such as yoga, and that the group is hoping to form a choir, as singing is a form of lung exercise that would be beneficial for group members.

The Tallaght COPD Support Group meets in the Rua Red café – opposite the Luas stop at 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.

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