For Ian, research means an improved quality of life and hope of a future free from lung disease.
When Ian was diagnosed with a lung disease, later confirmed as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, in 2017, he accepted the possibility that without a transplant, he might die.
The retired 66-year-old, father-of-three and grandfather-to-seven, was “nagged into” seeing a doctor after noticing concerning symptoms.
“I was coughing a lot, particularly first thing in the morning, getting tired quickly and had aching bones, particularly my legs,” he recalls.
“I was relieved when I was told what disease I had, and that there was the possibility of a transplant because I was under 65 at the time. Yet I accepted the reality … I might not get a transplant in time and I might die.”
When Ian told his immediate family and two closest mates, they were “very supportive”.
“I didn’t have any problems telling the people I did because I accepted the reality of my situation. It is what it is, I can’t change that, so why worry … accept what it is and move on.”
As his condition deteriorated, Ian appreciated how others were very supportive, even staff at his local supermarket. Fortunately, Ian was waitlisted and in September 2018, he received a double lung transplant. It is only through research and investments in diagnosis and treatment that such an outcome was possible.
Ian says he is “now back in the real world”.
“(But) it’s all extremely hard … to quote Monty Python, ‘always look on the bright side of life’. That’s the only option, it’s the only way to cope.”
Ian encourages others with a lung condition to make the most of peer support programs such as those available through Lung Foundation Australia, as “the only person that understands your journey is someone that has walked in your shoes”.
He would like to see organ donation made compulsory with the exception of genuine circumstances, so that others can receive a transplant like he has.
Ian’s experience with a rare and often fatal lung disease highlights the importance of investing in diagnosis and treatment to give others a brighter future too.
“If you are thinking of donating … don’t think, do” he urges.
“I hope research will eventually discover the cause of IPF, in turn leading to the causes of other lung diseases being found. Once research has found the cause of a disease, it will be able to find a cure.”
Research to Ian means hope and more time with his family.
Give hope so that others may have better treatment and a brighter future. Give to research today.
To find out more about Lung Foundation Australia’s resources and support services, including peer support, click here.
In celebration of our 30th anniversary, we are highlighting 30 Reasons to donate to life-changing lung disease and lung cancer research. For the millions of Australians impacted by lung disease and lung cancer, research means more precious moments with loved ones, a chance to experience their next life milestone, and independence to do the day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted.
Click here to find out more about the research being done courtesy of generous donations.