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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Biking with oxygen for the COPD cause

I wrote about Breathin Stephen and how he runs marathons despite his severe persistent asthma. I also wrote about Mike McBride and how he also runs marathons despite being an oxygen dependent COPDer.

Now we have Mark Junge, 66, who is also an oxygen dependent COPDer who is riding his bike on an "arduous" trek around the U.S. He said his wife drives the care and he rides his bicycle. In total, according to a column he wrote for the Wyoming Tibune Eagle Online, he has trekked 7,000 miles.

Of course he's doing this for the exercise, but he also has a purpose:

"Our mission is to alert the public to the problem of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a catch-all term for lung ailments that many people do not recognize.Ever since that first transcontinental trip, I have noticed another pattern: The number of COPD victims is increasing.New York pulmonologist Dr. Neil Schachter writes that in little more than a decade, COPD will be the third-deadliest disease in the world behind circulatory problems and cancer. He estimates that COPD already affects 35 million Americans."

He also writes:

"Awareness of COPD comes when you see older men and women walking around with canulas attached to their noses, carrying oxygen bottles in backpacks or pushing carts with metal tanks. Some are not so obvious because they have transtracheal tubes implanted in their necks. Others camouflage their oxygen-dependency with custom eyeglasses.But I suspect that most oxygen-dependent folks are hidden from public view in homes or healthcare facilities. They are a segment of the population that is out of sight and out of mind, except to those who care for them."

He notes that he would also like to get the word out to to other COPD patients who are oxygen dependent that they can get out and exercise, and all they need is to talk with their care providers and get portable oxygen.

"It's pretty obvious that people who would benefit from portable oxygen do not get enough encouragement to be mobile in their lives...," he writes. "Mobility means freedom. Freedom means improved physical and mental health that lead to productivity. Individual productivity leads to societal productivity and so forth and so on."

What folks like Breathin Stephen, Mike Mcbride and Mark Junge do for the COPD and severe asthma community is show the rest of us chronic lungers that exercise is a must, and no lung condition should stop you from getting out and walking, jogging or biking. Just do it!

Related posts:
congratulations breathin' stephen and mike
breathin stephen's greatest accomplishment
2 chronic lungers in boston marathon

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