Support group launched in Morecambe Bay to help people suffering with chronic lung disease
A new support group is ready to welcome anyone who is caring for or supporting someone with pulmonary fibrosis in the Morecambe Bay area.
The Morecambe Bay Pulmonary Fibrosis Support Group has been launched by Carnforth woman Wendy Jones, whose mum, Di, an award-winning florist in the area, suffered for years from the condition until she died in May.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is an umbrella term for many different conditions that lead to a build up of scar tissue in the lungs. The scarring reduces the amount of oxygen that gets into your blood stream every time you breathe. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is the most common type of Pulmonary Fibrosis.
There is currently no cure and it is believed the condition can reduce life expectancy significantly. But thanks to recent research into the disease, a number of new drugs are being developed, which could help people live longer.
Wendy, who cared for her mum, now wants to help others share experiences on ways to make life better for them and the person they are supporting.
She explained: "My mum, Di Jones was a well-known local award-winning floral artist known for her designs and photography dating back to the eighties. Di trained as a nurse in London and was a very proud nightingale nurse. She worked and brought up a family whilst being married to a busy obstetrician. The Jones family then moved to Lancaster in 1976 when Mr Jones became a consultant.
"My mum started flower arranging and never stopped! Her talents shone and she soon started winning competitions, including the World Association of Flower Arrangers competition in
2002. She even entered a national competition just months before she died.
"Having previously been diagnosed with breast cancer in her fifties, just before the Covid-19 pandemic, Di found a lump and immediately went for further investigations. Thankfully, the lump turned out to be nothing, however a chest X-ray showed evidence of lung scarring and she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
"Due to lockdown, her check-up appointments had to be postponed. Her condition began to worsen and in September last year, she felt extremely tired and breathless. In February 2021, my mum woke up complaining of flu symptoms and I was horrified by how little she could do without getting out of breath. So, I took her to the GP and Di was referred urgently to a specialist unit at Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Sadly, the speed of her illness was shocking and she was placed on end-of-life care. She passed away peacefully in May."
Wendy’s caring journey is over, but she is now helping others navigate their way during this challenging and isolating time.
She added: "The Morecambe Bay Pulmonary Fibrosis carer support group is educational, supportive and for anyone affected by this dreadful disease. The local respiratory nurse will be there to answer any questions and I will listen to your needs in the hope of creating a service, which supports people on this journey."
The group meets monthly online and the next meeting will take place via Zoom on November 22nd at 2pm. If you would like any more information or wish to attend the group, please e-mail [email protected]