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Breathing Space Newsletter – Spring 2019

Your Breathing Space World Asthma Day checklist

World Asthma Day (May 7) is just days away, and May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. What better time to check in on your breathing? This spring, we challenge you to:

[  ]  1. Have a plan – and stick to it. Our Moving the Dial research indicates that only 22% of us have an Asthma Action Plan in place, and only 44% know what one is! Order or print your plan here – your healthcare provider will help you fill it out.

[  ]  2. Get ready for allergy season. Tree pollen’s peaking and grass pollen’s just getting started. These common asthma triggers can cause a flare-up, so reduce your exposure by checking pollen reports at weather.ca and adjusting your outdoor activities accordingly. Stick to your Asthma Action Plan if your symptoms get worse.

[  ]  3. Protect your lungs during spring cleaning. Wheezing definitely won’t spark joy while you tackle tidying up. Keep your home well ventilated while using commercial cleaning products, and consider making your own non-toxic products instead. Read more tips here.

[  ]  4. Make the most of your check-ups. Planning a spring physical? Arrive prepared. Jot down your questions in advance, bring your current medications, and make sure you address any and all concerns, no matter how minor. Your healthcare provider is here to help!

[  ]  5. Know your treatment options. The days of one-size-fits-all asthma treatment are over. Today’s goal is the right medication for the right patient at the right time. Your unique immune system and other factors could make you a candidate for cutting edge treatment like biologics – so talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you have with your current treatment.

Remember, our Lung Health Line is open year-round, and Certified Respiratory Educators are standing by to give you the advice you need to take control of your asthma.

From the staff and volunteers at The Lung Association – Ontario, we wish you a happy and healthy World Asthma Day!

Earn rewards for boosting your COPD knowledge

Imagine earning rewards for deepening your understanding of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Thanks to our unique, first-of-its-kind partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim and Carrot Insights, we have given patients and their loved ones a convenient and rewarding new way to strengthen their understanding and take a more active role in their care.

Carrot Rewards is a free mobile wellness app that incentivizes healthy lifestyle choices by allowing users to complete health questionnaires and track their steps in exchange for rewards points. And thanks to our partnership, app users now have access to a new COPD module that covers topics like causes, diagnosis, and treatment options!

Use your smartphone to join over one million users across Canada:

How we’re helping Ontarians navigate lung cancer

If you (or someone you love) are navigating a lung cancer diagnosis, you don’t have to start this journey alone. Here are two new resources you need to know about:

Introducing Coping with Lung Cancer. This thoughtful book answers more than 25 of your most common questions, from “what’s next” after diagnosis to finding resources that can help you and your family cope.

Topics include:

  • Managing symptoms like shortness of breath;
  • When and how to tell family, friends, and coworkers; and
  • Banishing guilt and stigma – including how to respond if someone asks, “did you smoke?”

Order or download your free copy here.

Introducing our Lung Cancer Patient Navigator. Need personalized assistance understanding your diagnosis, support options, or treatment plan? We’ve added a new member to our Respiratory Health Programs team, and she has 20 years of experience providing care to oncology patients in an outpatient setting, supporting them with knowledge to make informed decisions regarding their care across the cancer continuum.

Get connected with our Lung Cancer Patient Navigator by calling our Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or through livechat at lungontario.ca. This service is free and confidential.


PLUS: We want to hear from you!  If you are a person with lung cancer, or a loved one of someone who has/had lung cancer, we need your help in ending the stigma around this disease. If you’re interested in becoming a spokesperson for an upcoming End Stigma campaign, click here to introduce yourself.


Breathe deeper with our NEW Digital Learning Hub

Did you know that The Lung Association – Ontario offers free, self-directed education and training opportunities for everyone who breathes? All you need is an internet connection and a passion for learning. Introducing our new – and ever-growing – Digital Learning Hub.

Public education spotlight: Learn how to help youth quit smoking

Imagine helping a young person quit using tobacco, and preventing them from becoming addicted to nicotine!  Youth tobacco cessation is complex, but this resource suite will help people who work with youth – including healthcare providers – apply the principles of youth engagement and achieve real results. This e-module and coordinating resource suite is available for free through our Digital Learning Hub. Click here to start learning now!

Fitness for Breath brings its workouts southwest

Great news for Windsor-Essex: Fitness for Breath, our empowering respiratory exercise maintenance program, is expanding into two new sites in the Windsor-Essex region this fall.

Fitness for Breath engages older adults and seniors in regular physical activity to motivate them to maintain an active lifestyle, help to manage their chronic lung disease and to continue the gains received from their participation in pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programs. For people with chronic lung disease, regular exercise results in fewer flare-ups and hospitalizations and a better overall quality of life. Click here to find out if Fitness for Breath is offered in your community.

Our expansion into Windsor-Essex is made possible by a generous gift from Caesars Windsor Cares. Stay tuned for more details about how this program can help you make the most of your breath!

Harnessing the power of support groups

Have you or someone close to you been diagnosed with a lung disease like COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis, pulmonary hypertension, lung cancer, or asthma? Have you ever wanted to share your own experiences, accomplishments and frustrations in dealing it? Support groups can give you the space to explore your feelings with people who understand. We’ll help you get started.

Find an existing group: Click here to find a support group, pulmonary rehabilitation program, or exercise maintenance program in your community. The Certified Respiratory Educators who staff our Lung Health Line can also help direct you to programs within your community – reach out at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) or info@lungontario.ca.

Start a new group: With more than 2.8 million Ontarians living with lung disease, the need for support groups is growing! Luckily, our updated Lung Health Support Groups guide covers everything you need to bring a supportive environment to your community –  from defining your group’s norms, planning meetings, to spreading the word.

For more information on how you can make a difference by facilitating a support group, please contact Jody Hamilton, Manager Patient Engagement & Community Programs at jhamilton@lungontario.ca. 

Your Dollars, Your Impact: meet our Cannabis Research Award recipients

A major gap was revealed when cannabis became legal in Canada: the lack of scientific research about how using it affects your health. We have joined forces with an industry partner to fill that gap by funding a research program that investigates various health impacts of cannabis use – whether used recreationally or as a medical option for chronic disease pain management and treatment. It’s another way we’re using research and innovation to protect your breath.

The results of these research projects will ensure there is a larger evidence-base to pull from when educating the public and healthcare providers about the impact of cannabis use on lung health:

Dr. Jeremy Hirota from McMaster University will be determining if smoking cannabis increases your risk of viral respiratory tract infections. “Cannabis is a very polarizing topic, but as scientists we should approach things with data, with experiments to test hypotheses, and then based on the data make an informed decision.

Dr. Tetyana Kendzerska from The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa will be filling the knowledge gap on the effects of recreational cannabis on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). “There is currently no information available on which to advise people with OSA about the effects of the recreational cannabis they are now able to legally access. This study will begin to fill that knowledge gap, provide insights about potential mechanisms of action and set the ground for larger trials.”

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris from St. Michael’s Hospital at Unity Health will be examining if smoking cannabis affects breathing tests, and if doctors should be using these tests when seeing patients with lung troubles who smoke cannabis. “There is presently a lot of confusion about whether long-term marijuana smoking negatively affects breathing tests. The results of this research will hopefully make more clear to Canadians…”

New ways to support the work of The Lung Association

As leading funders of breathing breakthroughs, The Lung Association – Ontario is used to thinking outside the box. Here are three new, outside-the-box ways you can support our work:

  • Feeling lucky? Our first ever digital 50/50 raffle launches soon! If you’re a resident of Ontario who’s 18+, you’ll soon be able to purchase 50/50 tickets online at the cost of one for $15,  or increase your chance of winning with 3 for $40 (or 10 for $100!)  Will you win big and breathe easy, while supporting our research and support programs? Find out when our draw takes place on Monday, September 30.  Additional rules and regulations apply. 
  • This Mother’s Day and Father’s day, Our Gifts of Breath make it easy to support the causes that matter to your family, at a variety of pricepoints! Use our Gifts of Breath portal to dedicate your donation to a loved one. You can even send them an ecard that lets them know that you’ve made Ontario a better place to breathe in their honour!
  • Go “the extra mile” when you donate your old vehicle – whether it’s working or not – to The Lung Association. There is no cost to you, and the process is incredibly easy! Donate a Car Canada will facilitate all aspects of your car donation from the pick up to the final sale, ensuring that your vehicle will be sold for the highest sale outcome possible. They will then forward the net proceeds on to us, and we will send you a tax receipt. Find out more here.

News and events

News & Events

Today, one in five Canadians have lung disease, but all of us need to breathe. That’s the driving force behind all of our special events and local campaigns. Get involved today by raising funds and awareness in your community. Choose from a variety of events that appeal to your interests and physical abilities. We know you’ll find one (or more) to enjoy, along with friends, family and co-workers.

The Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament

May 31 – June 3, 2019

Registration is now open! Join us for the 13th annual Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament at the Steve Brown Sports Complex at Lions Park in Brantford.

Click here for more event details & check out photos on the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament Facebook page!

 Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Golf Classic

June 12, 2019

Registration is now open! Join us for the 13th Annual Phyllis Gretzky Memorial Golf Classic at the Willow Valley Golf & Country Club in Mount Hope. Learn more

Annual Golf Classic

June 14, 2019

Registration is now open! Join us for the 2019 Annual Golf Classic at Glencairn Golf Club in Halton Hills!


June 23, 2019

Save the date: OmT.O. is a full day of continuous outdoor yoga classes in the Distillery District, led by the most dynamic and popular instructors from the top studios in Toronto. Proceeds from every ticket sold benefit The Lung Association – Ontario, and you can sign up to do some additional fundraising too! Registration opens soon.

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Are you a healthcare provider looking for webinars and workshops? Click here to browse our upcoming Clinical Practice & Education events.