August 11, 2014

From the CEO’s Desk

Heather Allan2

Dear Readers,

It is with some trepidation that I pen my first message from the CEO’s desk. I am stepping into what feel like very roomy shoes left by William Darbishire, the man who has led the Lung Foundation over the past 12 years.

When William first asked me to come and work for the Lung Foundation almost 10 years ago, we were a staff of seven. I was hired for three days a week to be the Executive Officer of the COPD and Lung Cancer Consultative Committees. In addition to these programs, the Lung Foundation had a well-established and passionate patient support network (LungNet) and a program to support clinical trials. Ten years later, when we lift our heads and look around, it is quite extraordinary to see the difference.

Under William’s leadership, we are now a thriving and well-respected organisation with a breadth and depth of programs, supported by hundreds of clinical and patient volunteers, which we could hardly have dreamt of a decade ago. I know I speak for our entire membership and the LungNet family when I thank him for his enormous contributions and wish him well for the next stage of his career and “retirement” life.

So while I take over the leadership of an organisation that has had significant growth over the last 12 years under William, our job is not yet done. In my inaugural message, I take the opportunity to share with you my thoughts on the next steps for Lung Foundation Australia.

Over the next three years, I will build on William’s great work and expand the influence of the Lung Foundation with five key audiences:

  • First and foremost, our patient population – this means looking for new ways to support those affected by all lung diseases through more innovative patient support programs like our Lungs in Action classes, our Lung Cancer Telephone Support Groups and a new program we are working on to support the families of children with rare lung disease.
  • The wider community – in addition to supporting those affected by lung disease, we will become more active in promoting lung health to the wider community. This means celebrating lung health, promoting healthy behaviours, and working in areas like occupational risk, clean air and healthy environments.
  • Clinicians – our COPD and Lung Cancer programs have demonstrated how we can successfully translate clinical guidelines into practical resources for use across a wide variety of clinical settings, from general practice to community pharmacy to physiotherapy. We will look to support clinicians working in other areas such as bronchiectasis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and chronic cough to name just a few.
  • Researchers – since 1992 we have raised and donated $3.2 million to support clinical research into lung health and lung diseases. My goal is to steadily increase the rate of this support over the coming years.
  • Advocacy – we will aim to have a louder voice in the circles that make the decisions that affect us.

To be able to make a difference in all these areas though, we need to focus on the “F” word – fundraising! This will certainly be a priority for me and I hope to be able to share more with you in the next newsletter on some important initiatives happening at the Foundation.

In the meantime we could really use your help. How?

  • Are you a member of the Lung Foundation? If not, please consider joining at:
  • Have you thought about donating to the Lung Foundation lately? Please visit our website:
  • Even better – have you thought about a regular monthly donation to the Lung Foundation through corporate giving? Or even just setting up a regular personal donation from your bank account which you can do via our website:
  • Have you thought about including the Lung Foundation in your bequest plans?

The Lung Foundation does not get regular government funding for our work. The work we do is made possible by members of the community. So please include us in your giving plans. If you do not have access to the internet, or would prefer to talk to someone about how you can support us, please call 1800 654 301.

Thank you and I look forward to working together to make a difference for those affected by lung disease.