May 1, 2015

From the CEO’s Desk

Dear Readers,

Twenty-five years ago on 5 March 1990, Lung Foundation Australia was born.

Under the Chairmanship of inaugural Chair, Professor Geoffrey McLennan, and with the participation of many others, we were established as a patient-based organisation aimed at supporting those with lung disease and raising funds to support research.

The first edition of LungNet News was published in November 1994 and aimed to “unite the patients of Australia”. The editorial list included the following:

  • ALF Tackles Teenage Smoking
  • Sleep Disorders Medicine: A Rapidly Growing Field
  • Patient Support Groups in South Australia
  • Smoke Busters Comes to Australia
  • APSR (Australia Pacific Society of Respirology) Workshop Report, Malaysia

Twenty-five years on, and with the support of countless clinical and community volunteers, we have achieved a significant amount on our journey to “unite the patients of Australia”.

Last year:

  • 6,500 calls were answered by our Information and Support Centre
  • 2,740 patients participated in one of Lung Foundation Australia’s support programs, including 500 patients in our Lungs in Action programs
  • 7,600 patient resources were downloaded from our website
  • 2,000 patients attended a seminar delivered by the Lung Foundation
  • 82,000 people completed our online Lung Health Checklist
  • $400,000 was awarded to researchers around Australia who are dedicated to improving treatments and outcomes for those with lung disease

This coming year:

  • Thousands will learn more about the Lung Foundation through social media, particularly our Just One Breath campaign – it’s a different world than in 1997!
  • We will launch our first online patient education training program for those with COPD called C.O.P.E. (see page 7 in this edition)
  • 600 patients with chronic lung disease will participate in our community exercise maintenance program, Lungs in Action
  • We will launch Young Lungs, our first program to support families whose children are living with lung disease
  • We will become the only national provider of telephone support for patients with lung cancer

While there is still so much to do, perhaps it is timely to reflect on 25 years of growth and 25 years of making a difference to those with lung disease.

I would like to share one example of feedback, the kind which we receive every day from patients who call our Information and Support Centre (manned by the fabulous Juliet Brown, Jenny Hose, Ainsley Ringma, Melissa Ram, and our long-time Volunteer – Eileen Perry). A man called us recently, who had been prompted to call after hearing the sound of an ambulance. The sound brought him back to a time of great difficulty in the course of his lung disease. At the time, he had called our 1800 654 301 line and spoken to Jenny who, as always, provided practical advice linking him to important information and services in the community. He claims that Jenny literally saved his life.

On a less dramatic but important note, we are moving with the times and going electronic. Many of you already receive your LungNet News by email. We also have just launched a new monthly electronic communication aimed
at providing a more regular update of activities and information of interest to patients. This will be in addition to the quarterly publication of LungNet News. If you would like to support us to reduce our carbon footprint and
save on mailing costs, phone 1800 654 301 or email enquiries@lungfoundation.com.au and request to receive additional communications or visit www.lungfoundation.com.au/get-involved/communication and fill out the form.

In closing, I would like to point you to page 8 where you will see a story about our end of financial year tax appeal. Shortly you will be receiving the appeal as a separate mail piece in late May. This year, I ask you to give generously. As you have heard many times, we rely on support from the community. I also urge you to see the experience of the Pearce family from Maitland who took some extraordinary steps to support their mother going through chemotherapy for lung cancer.

Thank you.
Heather Allan