Grant Raja, 45, and his Schneider Electric colleagues are gearing up to join riders in Sydney for a unique, four-hour Corporate Cycle Challenge hosted by Lung Foundation Australia to raise vital funds for research into the prevention, treatment and management of chronic lung disease.
Like 1 in 4 Australians[i], the Energy Advisor and father of two lives with a lung disease and knows first-hand the impact it has on day-to-day life.
As a child Grant had a persistent cough and poor lung capacity – he struggled to keep up with his friends and always came last in the cross country races. At just 12 years old, after 10 years of symptoms, he was diagnosed with bronchiectasis – a condition his doctor described as ‘remarkably silent, yet destructive’.
Bronchiectasis is caused by chronic infection in the small airways. The damage to the airways allows infected mucus to build up in pockets. Sufferers commonly develop a chronic cough, chest pain, shortness of breath and may cough up blood.
Despite living a healthy and active lifestyle, Grant’s lung capacity continued to decline, severely impacting even the simplest of daily tasks. Now, Grant is taking to his bike to promote the importance of exercise to lung health and raise funds to improve diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for Australians living with lung disease.
“For 20 years I relied on medication to treat infection and minimise the impact of any further damage. My treatment did not focus on improving my lung capacity,” he said.
“Today with the support of my specialist and doctors, I now have a comprehensive program that brings together better breathing, saline nebuliser, exercise and limited use of medication. The interesting part in this treatment is that medication is only one “part of the four pillars” and it seems to be working.
“It’s critical that we continue to raise funds to support further research to improve outcomes and one day find a cure for those still to come.”
Lung Foundation Australia General Manager – Research, Janet Moore said lung disease needs to be a priority and to do this we need the backing from the community to help raise the profile of this neglected disease and fund research.
“Lung disease, including thoracic cancers and chronic respiratory diseases, is the second leading cause of death in Australia[ii], yet publicity, empathy, research and funding remain extremely low,” Mrs Moore said.
“We’re hoping to raise funds to support research that will improve outcomes and quality of life, offering hope and undisputed benefits for people with a lung disease.
“Last year the Brisbane community raised more than $100,000 and we’re hoping Sydney can raise the bar even higher this year.”
Lung Foundation Australia’s Corporate Cycle Challenge, held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre on 3 August, 2018 will see teams of up to six riders relay around a closed circuit to ride as many laps as possible in four hours.
[i] AIHW 2016, www.aihw.gov.au/chronic-respiratory-conditions/
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Danielle Aami, Senior Manager – Marketing and Communications
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07 3251 3654
What: Teams of up to 6 riders will be challenged to ride as many laps as possible in 4 hours.
When: Friday 3 August, 2018
8.00am – 9.00am: Registration and breakfast
9.15am: Safety and event briefing
9.30am – 1.30pm: Open race (most laps in 4 hours)
1.30pm: BBQ and awards presentation.
Where: Sydney International Regatta Centre, Gate A, Old Castlereagh Rd, Castlereagh NSW 2749
Photo/filming opportunity: Lung Foundation Australia representatives will be cycling with Grant Raja and other people impacted by lung disease.