Everest challenge to mark Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week

14th June 2018

Walking up your own stairs at home can feel like you're climbing Mount Everest when you're living with a respiratory condition.

That's exactly why staff and patients from Lincolnshire's Pulmonary Rehabilitation Service have challenged themselves to do just that - or least the equivalent of it and a little more - by completing 80,000 step ups to raise awareness and funds for their service.

The challenge will be taking place throughout next week to coincide with Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week (June 18 - 24), with teams across the whole county hoping their collective total will conquer the highest mountain in the world.

Jerri-Ann Hammond, a respiratory physiotherapist from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, explained: "Those who come to pulmonary rehabilitation never cease to amaze us with their determination to succeed so we wanted to take on a challenge that reflected how they feel with tasks most of us take for granted on a daily basis.

"Chronic respiratory illnesses, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis, mean getting up the stairs or walking even a small distance can result in severe breathlessness. Our pulmonary rehabilitation programme helps people to manage their condition better, particularly through self management, and improve their tolerance to be more active."

Those who attend pulmonary rehabilitation join the programme twice a week for eight weeks, which includes an education session and exercise.

Jerri added: "All the money raised from this challenge will support the programme and helps us to buy additional equipment to improve the experience, such as nebulisers, hand weights, aerobic steps and desk pedals.

"We are very excited to have so many of our staff and those who use the service involved."

Peter Sumpton, of Sleaford, successfully completed the pulmonary rehabilitation programme to help him manage emphysema, a chronic lung disease. He recognised the benefits of staying active and has since set up his own 'slipper camp' exercise group as a gentler alternative to 'boot camp'.

"I was always very active and still playing football into my 50's," he explained. "But I found I was getting really out of breath. When I discovered I had a chronic illness, I did not understand what that meant. I thought my life was over. Then I was given some information about pulmonary rehabilitation.

"I pushed myself each week to try and beat my previous target. I still found I was out of breath but realised I had the ability to improve and if I could keep it up I had a fair life in front of me. Once I had finished the programme, with the help of the rehab team and others, I started a small class where we could continue what we had learnt."

Peter has since also completed a training course to be able to lead the class should the instructor ever be unavailable. The class continues to run for those over 60 every Thursday morning at Better Gym Sleaford.

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team's Everest progress will be followed on social media throughout the week on @lincscommhealth and @lchsrespiratory.

To make a donation to the service's Everest challenge, visit mydonate.bt.com/events/pulmonaryrehab/467126