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Everyone who has been affected by lung disease – whether patient, caregiver or health-care provider – has a story to tell. Here we share some inspirational stories about the lessons people have learned through their personal journey.

Meet Gabriel

An Ontarian living with asthma

Portrait of Gabriel, a young boy who lives with asthma

Gabriel Roosevelt-Jackman was a tiny three-week-old baby when he made his first ambulance trip to the hospital emergency department. Parents Daniel and Ann thought it was a bad cold but Gabriel had a serious respiratory infection — and severe allergic asthma. Now a teenager, Gabriel’s asthma is so difficult to control that it often prevents him from participating in his favourite sports – basketball, soccer and football – something that doesn’t usually happen to kids with less severe asthma. Here are some of the lessons this high school student has learned in the classroom of asthma. Read more

Meet Chris

An Ontarian living with COPD

Portrait of Chris, a patient living with COPD

The diagnosis of COPD came to Chris as a bit of a surprise. Prior to being diagnosed, Chris was becoming increasingly short of breath while working in construction and roofing. When he signed up to participate in a clinical study that involved a once-a-week breathing test, he was immediately disqualified on the basis that “his lung function is too far gone.”  Here are some of the hard-won insights that Chris has picked up as he deals with lung disease. Read more

Meet Joseph

An Ontarian who has survived lung cancer

Portrait of Joseph, a lung cancer survivor

Joseph Neale’s voice is clear and soulful. It’s hard to believe that he had two-thirds of his right lung removed after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Now 26, the talented singer-songwriter was just 20 years old when he began complaining of a dry, persistent cough. Though an initial chest X-ray suggested pneumonia, a subsequent CT scan indicated he had a tumour. Here, five compelling lessons Joseph learned about living through lung cancer. Read more

Meet Joyce

An Ontarian living with IPF

Portrait of Joyce, a patient living with IPF

Joyce Bell was in good physical condition for a woman of 68. Or so she thought. That illusion was shattered when she noticed she became breathless sooner when riding her bicycle. A routine chest x-ray showed scar tissue on the lower lobes of her lungs. She had never smoked, and never had pneumonia. When Joyce sought medical advice, she heard the words no one ever wants to hear: It’s Sclerodoma, an autoimmune disease, in which an overactive autoimmune system can lead to Interstitial Lung Fibrosis. These are a few of the things that IPF has taught her. Read more

Meet Bev

An Ontarian who has experienced pneumoniaPortrait of Bev, a patient who has experienced pneumonia

When Bev Black took a drag on her first cigarette back in 1964, she was oblivious to the risks. After all, just about everyone smoked in those days… It was in the workplace, in restaurants, at the movie theatre and even in the hospitals. By the time she quit smoking the damage had already been done. As a COPD patient who has also been struck down a few times with pneumonia, the quality of Bev’s life, like millions of others, has been severely compromised. This is some of her acquired wisdom. Read more

Meet Shelley

An Ontarian who has experienced tuberculosis

Portrait of Shelley, a patient who has experienced tuberculosis

Shelley Walkerley had just begun her first nursing placement when she was broadsided by some perturbing news: she had tested positive for a TB skin test on admission. Dumbfounded, she figured that she must have contracted it from a relative who lived in Northern Ontario. Fortunately, the illness was in a latent stage and she was treated prophylactically. However, that brush with TB set the stage for a lifelong calling in respiratory diseases which was amplified during her stint in the Chest Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital. Here is some of her acquired wisdom. Read more