About Just Breathe Marine
A few years ago, there was no “Just Breathe Marine”, it was just me, alone, chronically ill with a deadly debilitating disease with few, if any positive prospects whatsoever.
I was a broken individual with bleak prospects for any sort of future.
My Doctor and I held little hope for my prognosis.
One day all this changed…or should I say I changed my way of thinking and decided to fight back with a vengeance. I changed my eating habits and started an exercise programme within my limitations. It was a long hard journey which I stuck to relentlessly. The positive results of this motivated me hugely and I continue to practice this way of life passionately.
As COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) at this stage is incurable my focus has been to manage my condition. This decision improved my quality of life immensely and also my physical abilities thus allowing me to consider taking on some serious physical challenges.
In February 2017 against all odds I competed in the Sundays River Mile swim and am extremely proud to say I am the only oxygen dependent person in the world to successfully complete an open water swim.
While planning and training for the event I realised my success in this event would be vital in creating awareness not only for fellow sufferers with this invisible disability but for everyone. Organ transplant is the only option for COPD sufferers, however regrettably there is an unfortunate lack of awareness by the general populous resulting in severe organ shortages generally. I am happy to report after completion of the River Mile and due to valued coverage of the event by newspapers and social media a number of amazing people signed up as organ donors. I am eternally grateful to them.
COPD is unpredictable. Some days I feel as though I could bust through the proverbial brick wall with ease whilst a day later a simple task like brushing my teeth or walking across the room exhausts me. A double lung transplant is inevitable in order for me to survive.
Bearing all this in mind I feel I have achieved what I set out to do in my awareness campaign depicted in the following anecdote: –
I thought I had it all figured out until I read a letter from a fellow COPD sufferer published in the newspaper. I have subsequently met him.
Owen is now an amazing “warrior” fighting this disease alongside me. He had confined himself to his bedroom desperately ill and in essence preparing for the worst. On reading the article of my swim he was inspired and began fighting to rightfully “take his life back”. Slowly but surely, he left the confines of his room, ventured outside into the fresh air, visited coffee shops….in short, he started living again.
Owen my friend, I thank you for allowing me to realise my greatest purpose through your endeavours and courage. I want to continue to be an example to others who are like us. Fighting back does not necessarily mean swims, walks or runs or anything extreme. Just get out of your bed, sit in the sunshine, breathe in the fresh air, marvel at nature and all the amazing things going on about us all. Manage your situation…. clamp you’re oxygen “nose hose” onto your face and take charge….become a “warrior”.
TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE…IT BELONGS TO YOU!