Patient Stories

We want to hear from you!

If you have a lung disease or care for someone with a lung disease we would like you to share your story with us.

It is really simple, just write about your journey and send it to



Virginia Harrison

MY STORY Struck down with COPD at the age of 14, Virginia has coped with health problems for many years but still enjoys life. She has been an active member of the ‘Better Breathers Group’ in Rosebud, Victoria, for over two years and is a good example of a strong spirit overcoming indifferent health. My […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm by Mariano Aran

Victoria Taber

Victoria’s Story. My name is Victoria and I am a six year survivor of lung cancer. I am now 24 weeks pregnant with our second miracle baby who is due in May. Back in 2009, I was newlywed 29 year old teacher about to embark on one year teacher’s exchange program to Canada. I was […]

January 26, 2016 at 1:30 pm by Laura Guthrie

Trish Miller

I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG How many COPD sufferers have said “I knew something was wrong?” Diagnosed with COPD, Alpha 1 – Anti-Trypsin Deficiency and GORD changed Trish’s life. But from being absolutely shattered in 2002 and being unable to do even basic chores, through a series of remarkable medical interventions, she has been able to […]

April 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm by Mariano Aran

Tina’s Story

Family Motto; “It is good to try” My name is Tina and, while travelling back from UK in 2010, I became sick in Bangkok. I went to the local hospital, was prescribed antibiotics and travelled home. Some two days later my temperature started to rise so I saw my doctor. I went back again after three days […]

June 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm by Laura Guthrie

Tess Lindsay

THE PERILS OF PASSIVE SMOKING Now 84 years old, Tess looks back on her career as a nurse, and her early bouts of lung problems from childhood on to which she as a non-smoker, attributes to the years of pervasive passive smoking. My name is Maynel Teresa (Tess) Lindsay. I was born in 1926 making […]

April 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm by Mariano Aran

Teresa Watson – COPD

I started smoking at 10 years of age behind the bike sheds at school. At 12 years old I asked my mum if I could smoke, she obviously said a resounding ‘no’, but I replied ‘well I’m going do it behind your back anyway’. After that there was an understanding between me and mum that […]

June 20, 2016 at 4:03 pm by Laura Guthrie

Tegan’s story – Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)

Life for me started out pretty normal. Mum, younger sisters and I, living out in the south east suburbs. Within a 6 month period life suddenly changed. Firstly I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, suffering regular grand-mal seizures; the ones where you lose consciousness completely. Shortly after this diagnosis I developed a cough that wouldn’t go […]

June 13, 2017 at 9:56 am by Laura Guthrie

Sue Summerhayes

THE CARER’S VIEW OF ‘LUNGS OF STEEL’ ARE NOW ‘LUNGS OF MUSH’   In an earlier story Darryl wrote of his problems in coping with COPD. His wife Sue has now provided us with a full time Carer’s view of living with a COPD sufferer and how she feels that both Darryl and herself are […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm by Mariano Aran

Sian’s Story

“Lung Foundation Australia provides ongoing support for me to understand and better manage my lung disease. Your donation enables them to continue supporting any Australian with a lung condition, so thank you.” Sian Gleeson has lived with Kartagener’s Syndrome, a rare genetic mutation, since she was born. Lung Foundation Australia supports people like Sian and […]

May 14, 2015 at 10:53 am by Laura Guthrie

Sandy Sampson

Sandy’s Story. My name is Sandy, I am 62 years old living in Perth, married with two children, and four grandchildren. I was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2011, where I had carcinoid tumors in my chest and right lung. After having the annual flu jab at work, I had the flu and a […]

February 2, 2016 at 2:46 pm by Laura Guthrie

Sandie Parter – COPD

I’m Sandie Parter. My ancestors come from the Darumbal tribe of Rockhampton and the Tanna, Ambrym and Lifou people from Vanuatu. Both sides of my family had a history of asthma and my beloved dad passed away from respiratory failure due to chronic asthma back in 2008. Even though he stopped smoking in his twenties, […]

July 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm by Laura Guthrie

Roy Martin

  My name is Roy Martin; I am nearly 55 years old and live in Plumpton, an outer western suburb of Sydneywith my wife Debbie and our two teenage children Lauren (18) and Daniel (17).  Fortunately I am still in reasonably good health which enables me to work full time in a purchasing position. I […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:11 pm by Mariano Aran

Pam’s story

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a terminal disease – there is no easy way to get away from that. I was diagnosed with IPF in 2009 at the age of 72. Firstly, I noticed I was increasingly breathless and that meant no more bird watching out in the bush and travelling long distances. Tiredness became a factor […]

February 6, 2018 at 8:46 am by Laura Guthrie

Mike Hyde

Mike’s Story. It is now 13 years since I was diagnosed with lung cancer, but who’s counting! My diagnosis of lung cancer and treatment has changed my life as it would change anybody’s. I now have a sense of my mortality and I certainly do look around and appreciate things that I took for granted […]

January 25, 2016 at 2:44 pm by Laura Guthrie

Michael’s Story – Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

My name is Michael and I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) in 2009. It was almost by accident that I got diagnosed as I was originally visiting a Vascular Surgeon for an opinion on my late evening ‘feverish spells.’ Suspecting I had cancer because both of my parents had died from it, the […]

August 22, 2017 at 3:16 pm by Camilla Coldrake

Mary Kirkwood

Hi, my name is Mary. I would like to share my story about how COPD changed my life for the better. I am 56 years old, divorced and a mother of three. Until recently, the only time I had ever been in hospital was when I was having my children, 27 years ago.  Having said […]

July 3, 2015 at 3:55 pm by Laura Guthrie

Mark Thatcher – COPD

My name is Mark and I live with COPD.  My message to others is to be careful in your workplace and protect yourself if you are working in an environment with occupational dusts and chemicals. I am only 53 years old. I was first diagnosed with COPD nine years ago when I was suffering severe […]

June 13, 2016 at 8:52 am by Laura Guthrie

Marion’s story

The loss of her father and two brothers to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), her own diagnosis of IPF and a double lung transplant has led Marion on a journey of gratitude leading to the desire to help others and to raise awareness of the disease. Marion tells her story… I received my gift of life […]

August 21, 2017 at 2:18 pm by Marketing & Comms Intern

Liz’s story

34 days from diagnosis to the “all clear” I’m a 56 year old professional woman and a former smoker in good health.  I was incidentally diagnosed with lung cancer (non-small cell adenocarcinoma) early this year. By sheer luck, the ‘mass’ in my lung was discovered when I had surgery for an unrelated issue (a total […]

May 13, 2015 at 3:52 pm by Laura Guthrie

Lisa Briggs

Lisa’s Story. My name is Lisa Briggs and I’m 34 years old, wife to my amazing husband Kirk, and mother of two beautiful children, four year old Jasmine and 18 month old Alastair. On the 28th November 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. Having always led an active lifestyle, never smoked a […]

January 26, 2016 at 2:45 pm by Laura Guthrie

Lillian Leigh

Lillian’s Story. My name is Lillian, I am 36 years old, married to my husband Peter and we are lucky to have a beautiful three year old daughter. I am a social justice lawyer and was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2014 just two days after my 34th birthday. I woke up one morning with […]

February 3, 2016 at 4:35 pm by Laura Guthrie

Leo and Misty’s story

My name is Misty Koulianos and my son Leo has Surfactant Protein C Deficiency (SPCD), a rare lung disease due to a mutated gene in his DNA. Surfactant C is responsible for helping to open the lungs while inhaling. The surfactant that Leo’s body releases is not correct, so his body rejects it. When this happens, […]

July 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm by Laura Guthrie

Kevin’s story – Pulmonary Hypertension

My name is Kevin, I am 47 years old and a father of three beautiful daughters. In 2010, I was diagnosed with severe Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). Even before 2010 my body was telling me something wasn’t right but I wasn’t really listening to it. I would get short of breath a lot easier than before […]

June 13, 2017 at 8:30 am by Laura Guthrie

John Ruttle (COPD)

For as long as I can remember, I have had Asthma.  I am now 70 years old and living with COPD.  I was first diagnosed with Bronchitis 15 years ago.  Then three years later I was diagnosed with Emphysema and two years later, further diagnosed with COPD.   At the time I was given two years […]

February 15, 2016 at 10:24 am by Laura Guthrie

John Baddock

TRY TO RETAIN A REALISTIC BUT POSITIVE OUTLOOK Even if smoking does not kill immediately the long-term effects mean an inexorable decline in health.  Having been a veteran smoker John was finally diagnosed with COPD. He is now a keen participant in self help breathing groups and urges others afflicted with COPD not to give […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm by Mariano Aran

Jo Ventura

MY JOURNEY THROUGH OLD AGE WITH COPD   Recently bereaved 80 year old Joe lives on the Central Coast of NSW, and describes how he finally came to cope with this debilitating condition: I was diagnosed with emphysema a long time ago. The doctor told me if I valued my health I should stop smoking […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm by Mariano Aran

Jim’s Story – Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

My name is Jim Bradley, I am 71 years of age and have been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). The diagnosis came following complaints to my GP of bouts of breathlessness when doing manual work such as mowing the lawn and I was finally diagnosed after a series of X-rays, CT scans, and a […]

August 21, 2017 at 9:50 am by Marketing & Comms Intern

Jenni Ibrahim

Bronchiolitis obliterans and liver cancer metastases of the lungs My name is Jenni Ibrahim. I am a retired psychologist and public servant who has worked in many ways – as a psychologist and in research, policy, and management in consumer affairs, family and community services and health. I’ve worked in Australia and Malaysia. In addition […]

September 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm by Laura Guthrie

Jeanette Rogers

LIFE AS A CARER Jeanette is the wife and carer of former farmer Daryl who was diagnosed with emphysema in 1997 and told he would no longer work. The realization that life would not be the same after this diagnosis is vividly retold by Jeanette. After hearing the diagnosis I felt our world was ending. […]

April 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm by Mariano Aran

Ian Garvie

Ian’s Story: I started smoking when I was twelve or thirteen and I smoked for forty years. I can honestly say I enjoyed every cigarette.  Despite smoking, I lived a very active lifestyle and participated in various sports always celebrating a victory (or loss) with a cigarette and a drink or two. Throughout my forty […]

May 29, 2015 at 2:15 pm by Laura Guthrie

Helen Irving

Helen’s Story. I was about to leave home to take my granddaughter to playgroup when the telephone rang. It was my GP. “It’s not emphysema, its cancer,” she said. I was stunned. How could I have lung cancer when I’d never smoked even one cigarette? My enjoyable retirement life had suddenly crashed. I was diagnosed […]

January 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm by Laura Guthrie

Helen Cotter

I have restricted breathing because of kyphoscoliosis and I am on oxygen for part of the day. I have been a member of Canberra Lung Life Support Group for almost 10 years. In that time, I have been Treasurer, Editor of the newsletter, and coordinator of Lung Life. I am currently the acting coordinator. I […]

May 31, 2017 at 10:23 am by Maheshi Wadasinghe

Harrison’s story

Harrison was a difficult feeder from birth and at 10 weeks of age he was breathing very fast so I asked a close friend of mine who is medically trained to come over. We counted Harrison’s respiratory rate and work of breathing. Both were significant so we called an ambulance and Harrison was taken to […]

February 6, 2018 at 9:15 am by Laura Guthrie

Graham Webster

A GRUMPY OLD MAN NO MORE Graham who is aged 71, pulls no punches when it comes to himself: “I was a grumpy old man. I was cranky and frustrated at all the things I could no longer do. It was terrible for everyone around me.”Graham’s wife, Evelyn, confirmed his assessment. “He was no fun […]

April 3, 2014 at 8:52 pm by Mariano Aran

Frances Merson

KNOWLEDGE IS THE KEY says Frances, an 80 year old War Widow who has lived at Mornington on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria since 2002. She writes: I have a very supportive son and daughter also living in Mornington. I was a smoker of 20 cigarettes say from  the age of 15 to 50 when I […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm by Mariano Aran

Eric’s story

My name is Eric and I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) after I presented to emergency at Bundaberg Base Hospital with a severe lung infection 2011. Fortunately there was a visiting specialist there from Brisbane at the time. After I was stabilised a number of tests were run to determine my condition […]

January 31, 2018 at 9:34 am by Laura Guthrie

David McDonald

David’s Story. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in December 2011 at the age of 49. This came as a total shock because I’d never been a smoker and I didn’t think I had any serious health problems. In fact, our family had a whole future planned. We were in the process of […]

January 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm by Laura Guthrie

David Garland

ALPHA 1 ANTI-TRYPSIN DEFICIENCY – A FATHER’S SAD TALE David was motivated to write this paper so that the experience that his family has gained may be available to any other persons who are diagnosed with this very rare condition. He suggests that GPs should order exploratory blood tests for all patients with breathing difficulties. […]

April 3, 2014 at 8:53 pm by Mariano Aran

Daryl Rogers

SMOKING WAS NOT THE ONLY CAUSE The combination of tobacco smoke, agricultural fertilisers, dust and industrial chemicals can be a deadly combination as Daryl found out when he was told he had emphysema. His approach to his condition is to ‘make the most of what you have, and make my lungs work’. Hi, I am […]

April 3, 2014 at 8:59 pm by Mariano Aran

Darryl Summerhayes

LUNGS OF STEEL ARE NOW LUNGS OF MUSH Too often thought of as a condition that only affects the elderly, Darryl found out that a diagnosis of chronic asthma, COPD and Vocal Chord Dysfunction was to dramatically change his lifestyle. Now 55 years old he has successfully adapted to the necessary changes to his lifestyle.My […]

April 3, 2014 at 8:54 pm by Mariano Aran

Dagmar’s Story

My name is Dagmar and my husband, Garry suffered from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). In October 2010, after a bout of pneumonia, Garry was referred by his General Practitioner (GP) to a lung specialist at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. By January 2011, after a lung biopsy, he was diagnosed with IPF. No known cause […]

September 11, 2017 at 10:44 am by Marketing & Comms Intern

Colette Beeston (nee Prause)

THE NEED FOR EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF COPD A common story among COPD sufferers is that for years they were unaware of their slowly deteriorating health. Collete is now 46 years old but was not diagnosed with COPD until 22 October 2009. Over the years I went to different Doctors about other health issues but never […]

March 31, 2014 at 9:58 pm by Mariano Aran

Chris Bentley

WE STILL HAVE A BUCKET LIST TO WORK ON! Chris acquired asthma as a small child during the bombing of British cities during 1941 but it was not until she was in her forties that she was diagnosed with emphysema – horrifying news for a non-smoker! After years of treatment Chris realises that her ‘margins […]

March 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm by Mariano Aran

Bruno’s story

Focussing on the present – one year after diagnosis My name is Bruno Galgano. I am 45 years old and a divorced but devoted father of 3 wonderful children under 10 years of age – Adam (10), Olivia (9) and Luke (7). On the afternoon of Tuesday 14th June 2015, I was medically diagnosed with […]

June 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm by Laura Guthrie

Bridget’s story – Kartagener Syndrome and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

My name is Bridget Doyle, I am 21 years old and I live in Brisbane, Queensland with my mum, dad and my dog, Hope. I have two lung conditions Kartagener Syndrome and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). I was diagnosed with Kartagener Syndrome at 3 months old. It is a genetic disorder which I have dealt […]

June 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm by Laura Guthrie

Brett’s Story

“The only symptom I had was a chest infection, or so I thought. My GP had given me some antibiotics and said if my chest didn’t clear in two weeks he would send me for a scan. After no improvement, off I went to have the scan.” Brett had the scan two days before Christmas […]

May 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm by Laura Guthrie

Bill’s story – Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) a life changer

My name is Bill Van Nierop, and I have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis or IPF to those of us ‘in the trade’ so to speak. I was originally diagnosed with potential IPF on the 13th March 2015, when some indicators were noticed on an X-Ray and subsequent CT scan I’d had to ensure a bout of […]

June 13, 2017 at 9:24 am by Laura Guthrie

Barbara’s survival story – 8 years on

My journey with cancer started in November 2008.  While visiting my daughter in Perth, I started coughing. Whenever I talked I coughed. I got back to Canberra and thought this is ridiculous, so I went to the doctor and he sent me for an X-ray. Looking back I can recognise the signs that had already […]

May 16, 2016 at 10:16 am by Laura Guthrie

Barb Prime

MY LUNGS SAY ‘NO’ BUT KEEP SMILING A typical tale of a smoker who developed emphysema and then COPD, Barb’s story is one of slow decline until oxygen has become part of her daily life.  This is my story. My name is Barb Prime and I am 61 years old, diagnosed with emphysema in 1991. […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm by Mariano Aran

Archie’s story

May 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm by Laura Guthrie

Anita McGrath

Anita’s Story. My name is Anita and I’m a 46 year working mother of two energetic young boys. I enjoy daily walks, a healthy diet and regular family camping holidays. Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), Adenocarcinoma, stage 3a. For more than two and a half years […]

January 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm by Laura Guthrie

Alexandra Colwell

My name is Alexandra and three years ago my life was turned upside down. I was 31, the mother of a two-year-old, a clean eating runner who had never touched a cigarette – and I had lung cancer. My diagnosis came after I found a small hard lymph node in my neck, above my collarbone. […]

January 30, 2016 at 3:18 pm by Laura Guthrie

Albert Richards

BE YOUR OWN HEALTH PROJECT MANAGER Albert provides some common sense approaches to managing your own health, and discusses the unusual problems associated with the use of Variable Positive Air Pressure Therapy (VPAP).The Medical Profession The patient is the only person at the coal face 24/7 to know what is continuously happening to him. He […]

April 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm by Mariano Aran