From the CEO’s Desk
As I pen this message on 5 September, the entire Lung Foundation Australia staff are thinking about November. As most of you know, November is Lung Health Awareness Month. Traditionally, the Lung Foundation has developed programs to mark important public health annual calendar “days” in November, including World COPD Day, Asbestos Awareness Week, Lung Cancer Awareness Month and International Lung Cancer Awareness Day.
Over the years, we have used November to encourage those with symptoms of lung disease to complete our Lung Health Checklist and see their doctor if they have any concerns about their lung health. We have also worked to remind those with a diagnosis of lung disease to take advantage of the Lung Foundation’s information and support programs to help them reduce the impact of their disease. I think we have done a good job at this. Our November activities attract support from thousands across the country, whether it is to come out to a Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event, to set up a COPD information booth in a local shopping mall, to promote a risk assessment and screening program in a local pharmacy or to speak to the local paper about the importance of “checking in with your lungs”.
This year, we know that all these activities will continue and will be well supported, and you will find further information about each of these programs in this edition of LungNet News. However, this November, things will be a bit different. From November, the Lung Foundation will not only be speaking to those with lung disease or those at risk of lung disease as we will also be starting the conversation with the wider community.
We know from a Galaxy Research poll conducted in January of this year that over 50% of people rarely or never think about their lungs. However, we also know from the same survey that three out of five Australians report symptoms of lung disease or exposure to risk factors of lung disease. It seems people take breathing for granted.
So, we have been asking ourselves, how do we engage with the wider community so that we all stop to think about the preciousness of breath? How do we grab community attention so that lung health is as much in our thoughts as is our breast health or heart health?
In addition, how do we engage people in a way that is positive and on an emotional level?
Over the past several months, Lung Foundation Australia has been working with award-winning film director, Jason van Genderen to do just that. Jason has won numerous awards globally for a short film about his father, dying with lung cancer (End the Unspoken). After lung cancer touched him, Jason wanted to speak to all Australians to get them thinking…to get them celebrating how precious the gift of breath is. He had an idea…It’s not about lung disease. It’s tangible. It’s every day. It’s positive. It’s about inspiring lung health and highlighting the ordinary and extraordinary ways people use their breath..
Imagine the power of what you can do… with Just One Breath
What can YOU do?
On 1 November, the Lung Foundation will be holding its Inaugural One Breath Gala Dinner in Sydney at the Maritime Museum. Jason will be there to formally launch our Just One Breath campaign and he will be supported by some familiar faces to you all – some of whom you are just starting to hear about. If you haven’t booked your tickets yet, visit www.lungfoundation.com.au/one-breath-gala-dinner, or call 1800 654 301. Not only will you be part of an exciting campaign launch, you will be helping the Lung Foundation raise much needed funds to support our work.
We are confident that our Just One Breath campaign will help raise the profile of lungs and lung health. As part of the campaign, we will be asking people to film themselves doing what they do best…with Just One Breath…and then sharing it by sending in a photo, uploading a video, or just telling us their story. So watch out for it and get involved.
Before signing off and wishing our LungNet community a very Merry Christmas, I draw your attention to our traditional Christmas Seals included with this newsletter. They are our gift to you for the season. I take this opportunity to remind you that we receive no ongoing funding from any government and the work we do is supported by you through your donations. So please remember us in your giving plans. We also have Christmas cards available for purchase again this year and you will find an order form enclosed with this newsletter. As you will see, we have also added a 2015 calendar to our Christmas offerings.
I wish you and your families all the best for the holiday season.