Spotlight on the Lung Health Foundation

May 10, 2024

The Lung Health Foundation (formerly the Ontario Lung Association) has a history that goes back more than 100 years; currently, it is dedicated to ending the gaps in the prevention, diagnosis, and care of lung disease in Ontario and across Canada, focusing on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

The Foundation also supports smoking/vaping cessation as a way to ensure healthier lungs in generations to come.

What are the Mission and Goals of the Foundation?

Mission

To strive to improve the health and quality of life for all people with lung disease, and to provide help and hope until cures are found.

Goals

  • Provide help that comes from the programs and support they provide people with lung disease and people who are seeking to improve or protect the health of their lungs.
  • Provide hope that comes from funding ground-breaking research to understand the causes of lung disease and improve diagnoses and treatments.
  • Provide support to the 1 in 5 Canadians affected by lung disease. LHF is here for everyone who breathes, helping people with concerns, treatments and support. 

Chris’s story

Chris Leaman’s COPD diagnosis came as a bit of a surprise. But he was becoming increasingly short of breath while working in construction and roofing.

When he signed up to participate in a clinical study that involved a once-a-week breathing test, he was immediately disqualified on the basis that “his lung function is too far gone”.  

Chris’s Insights into Dealing with Lung Disease

1. Shortness of breath does not fall into the same category as wrinkles.

Despite his history of smoking, Chris thought his breathlessness was just part and parcel of getting older. He was wrong. By the time he was diagnosed with COPD, as often happens, the disease was already quite severe.

2. There’s no place like hope.

When a lung transplant became one of the possible treatment options, Chris made the difficult decision to move from Kingston to his daughter Chelsea’s apartment in Toronto.  It just made sense to live closer to his specialists, his rehabilitation program, and to Toronto General Hospital’s Lung Transplant Clinic where he felt he could be “heard and seen” by his doctors.

3. Learn to roll with the punches.

Chris would have been on the transplant list a lot sooner (he eventually made it), but he developed another lung disease – Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). MAC is an opportunistic infection that takes advantage of a weakened immune system. To make things even worse, he was affected by tuberculosis (TB) and suffered two heart attacks, further complicating his chances to get on the lung transplant list.

4. Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t.

While the avid athlete could no longer play sports, he derives a great deal of satisfaction watching hockey, basketball, volleyball, and football.  He also helps his daughter, walks the dog, goes to rehab three days a week, and attends various doctors’ appointments.

5. Make a difference with every breath.

Chris feels a keen sense of responsibility to help others better understand COPD and the related risks of smoking. He helped found the Lung Issues Support Group at Toronto Western, for sharing experiences and supporting each other. He also attends the Lung Association COPD support group, which offers people a way to share their experiences and hear from others, so they don’t feel alone.

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For general questions:

Sarah Wood
Executive Director
437-925-6227
sarah.wood2@ontario.ca

Address

315 Front St. West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B8

Federated Health Charities White Logo

For general questions:

Sarah Wood
Executive Director
437-925-6227
sarah.wood2@ontario.ca

Address

315 Front St. West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B8

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