Tracie Lawlor Trust Patient Assistance fund was set up to directly help Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients avail of integrative treatments. The fund has helped purchase treatments for CF’s ranging from exercise bikes, gym memberships, to acupuncture and supplements, all of which have aided in improving the quality of life for people with CF. Recently the TLT4CF have purchased a state of the art bike from Italy at cost with the very kind help of Pat Whitney and Peter Thatcher.
William Bresnan a recent transplant recipient was asked to take part in the world transplant games this year in South Africa, with disciplines of cycling and swimming however he was unable to afford a proper racing bike and train with it. He had applied to the national CF charity for gym membership but was refused and asked to wait a year due to receiving it a number of times, so he did and was refused again and was told a meeting on rules was going to take place. He then wrote a letter explaining what happened to us and how much it would mean to him, as we understand the importance of exercise for maintaining health post transplant and it is important to show inspiration to other CF’s, show them it can be done, it may be hard but this is an example with some belief and hard work, we were able to not only get a state of the art racing bike but fund treatment with a Physiotherapist in his local area and he has been flying it ever since! This is due to the many, many kind people of Wexford that have made this fund possible, We look forward to seeing him at the transplant world games next year, flying the Irish flag proudly! This would not be possible without people like you, so thank you, as any donation helps, as we do not take a wage nor salary so all your donations directly/indirectly help CF patients and further research.
This was made possible through the Patients Assistance Fund (click link for full list), this is one of many stories of how the money you donate to us has being directly used to help CF patients right now with their needs, thank you so much and remember we don’t waste your donations on wages/salaries/allowances/investments etc. the money you give is used as it should be. Please consider us in any fundraising activity in the future to help us, help many more CF’s and continue to help those that have availed of the fund thus far.
Tai Chi and Clare Meleady
*About Tai Chi and how it helped you??*
From doing tai chi I have noticed many things that have changed in my life and in my body and mind. The most important is that I have become more aware of my breath and breath deeper then I would have previous. My body is much stronger arms, legs, core, shoulders, and chest. From a physical point of view, having a stronger upper body helps when I get chest infections and a lot of coughing. The muscles get less sore as they are used to being worked. I am learning to live in the moment especially in times of stress like when I get an exacerbation. It helps with dealing with stress and also to slow down in my life where is not needed. I am taking the lessons from class and bringing them into my life when needed. It is a working progress but I know the knowledge is there whether I choose to use it or not!
When I get run down or sick I’ve noticed my body fights it much quicker and my recovery time is shortened so my immune system is stronger than ever. When I get a cold it doesn’t necessarily go onto my chest now so I don’t have as many antibiotics. Since my late teens, I get tired a lot of the time but I have noticed that the more I practice the more alive I feel and the more energy I have for doing more in my life and get through a day or night out with friends.
*How do you think tai chi has helped you to manage your CF?*
The major thing I have noticed is that my immune system is much stronger. I fight colds, sinus infections and chest infections much better and quicker. I haven’t had a chest infection in a year thankfully. It also helps with my digestion. I have CF related bowel disease and IBS that in the last 6 years has been crippling. Over the last 12 months I have increased my tai chi practice and I’ve literally had half the bouts of blockages. Can I put it down to tai chi alone? Probably not but I do believe it’s a factor. In relation to stress in my life, by practicing and reducing the stress and getting the parasympathetic nervous system into play, it helps my body to calm down and relax. This then aids my bowel and reduces the chance of an IBS episode and leading to blockages.
*Overall do you feel this has helped improve your mental health? *
As far as mental health goes, I am still learning and gaining the benefits of tai chi. It is a great calming tool. A huge struggle in my life would be accepting my limitations and the feeling self worth. Tai chi is teaching me acceptance in my Tai chi practice what I am and am not able to do right now. I am bringing this lesson into my life to help me accept my situation, my illness and my life. I made a choice not to work the last few years to get my health on track. I struggle every day with guilt of my choice and what is my purpose without a job to go to? We are programmed to work to live and I have always been involved in society, school and college. To suddenly stop after that is a shock to the system. I think that society has expectations of a person and a job or lack of does play a part in people’s perception of an individual. I am learning to accept that I have limitations in my condition and it is okay to be where I am. People work their entire lives and would do anything to be in my position of not working. So I pull myself back to how fortunate I am and see that my quality of life is much better.
In times of being unwell or feeling a bit down in the dumps or stressed like we all do, I practice my tai chi or even practice it in my head. It is a great calming tool. It is like mediation the way it clears your mind and brings you into the here and now. Life is tough for everyone no matter if they have an illness or not so we need tools to give us perspective or get us through a rough day. That is what Tai Chi does for me.
Tai chi is not difficult but it is an art. It is something that if you want you can progress through your whole life. For example I have been doing the 24 yang style now since I began and every time I do it I learn something new. Whether it’s a style thing or becoming aware of something different like foot work or hands position or using more waist/dentine to drive you.
It could take a year to learn one form and you build on it and improve on it over time. E.g. learning to use your waist more. Once you become comfortable with it and can do it without thinking that’s when it really deepens and you begin to feel the energy flowing and the full benefits. (In my experience) Once you have learned the basics you learn more forms but it’s NOT a race. Even outside of forms there are different basics and exercises which are as enjoyable that do not take long to learn and are as beneficial.E.g. silk reeling.
*Was it easy to integrative into your current regime?*
With tai chi you need no equipment bar a room that has enough room or outdoor space to move around in. that is a huge plus!
It is easy to work into daily routine as you can do as much or as little as you want. You can do a full form (yang 24 takes just over 6 mins) you can chose a part of the form to work on, you can spend hours doing whatever forms and exercises you want , it’s down to how you are feeling on the day. You can do it anywhere too so even if you’re out for a walk on a beach or park, sure you can just takes a few minutes to relax and do some.
*Do you think others could benefit from its use?*
I have met many people in the last 4 years and I am one of the only ones with a chronic illness. It is for everyone any age in every walk of life. Whether you struggle with coping with stresses in your life, if you have emotional problems, if you have an illness or complaint, if you want to do light exercise or if you simply want to learn a new art form. It is enjoyable, beautiful and hugely beneficial. I cannot imagine my life without it in it.
Groundbreaking new research into the potential health benefits of a martial art could help
improve the lives of youngsters who have one of the most common hereditary lifethreatening diseases in Britain and Ireland.
The study will explore how tai chi can help people with cystic fibrosis to manage their condition and enjoy a better quality of life.
Professor Nicola Robinson, an academic Press Release
By Michael E. Morrison
I was born with Cystic Fibrosis and lost my younger brother to this life threatening genetic condition. For over quarter of a century I was a mind numbing robotic disciple of Western medicine, bowing to the latest wonder drug to improve aerosol respiration to improving my weight levels to staving off infections. I was a walking pharmacy. I complied with everything the CF team presented me with and duly embraced their treatments of Cystic Fibrosis without thought or question. Just thinking that it will keep me strong and good life force, gave me no reason to rock the proverbial boat. As I got older though, I started to become prone to more and more chest infections, no longer were oral antibiotics hitting and nipping the infection in the bud. From oral medications, I was now being treated more and more through the use of Intravenous antibiotics. The use of intravenous medication started becoming a bi-annual affair.
The last hospitalised episode along the conventional route for me was over eight and a half years ago. After failure to treat a recurrent chest infection with oral meds, the doctors took concern and looked at home IV treatment. After two unsuccessful weeks on home IV’s, there was still no improvement in my situation. After returning for a check up at the end of the IV treatment, I was quickly admitted into the environs of St. Vincents’ (the top Cystic Fibrosis unit in Ireland for adult CF patient’s) for a new course of IV treatment and what turned out to be an elongated, endurance-testing period in hospital. Over the three-week time period it was like a scatter shot approach to medicine. A faint hope, a glimmer of light that one of the prescribed tablets would hit the infection and bring my body back to health. In the end, I felt dejected and down at the lack of compassion and care shown. I reached my nadir with conventional medicines when the head Consultant referred to me as “twiggy” while on one of his rounds in front of his entire CF team. The sheer ignorance and blase stingy remark resonated throughout leaving me empty and devoid of hope that this man or his team were ever going to do anything for my health. No longer would I put this team of negative brow beaters’ at the center of my health.
I knew a change of cataclysmic proportions was needed. To Brazil and the Miracle Man. The change and direction needed was there. My challenge and change was to my health and my approach to it. I was now captain of my ship. The rudderless days were relegated to the dustbin of the past.
Since my first visitation to the healing environs of Brazil, many wonderful opportunities have and continue to bless me. On countless occasions courses, books and people would be brought into my life leading me to piece together a complementary jig saw puzzle to aid my healing. The changes have been immense bringing a spiritual aspect to understanding illness and see it not as a foe but a friend here to teach me about myself and bring me a closer union with my soul’s journey.
One of the reasons for penning ‘A Path Less Conventional’ and ‘Prisoner of Words’ was an important lesson I have learned. Nobody other than me will cure me. The journey may be a little longer and less traveled but the “straight roads are the roads of progress; the crooked roads are the roads of genius”. I have had my ups and downs on this journey but the decision has been mine and I hope others from reading this will learn to stop abdicating control of your health to others’ and grasp the reins of life and steering their way onto the healing highway.
I have a Bachelor of Business degree from the University College Dublin; a Masters’ of Business Studies in Marketing Management from Smurfit Business School, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. I am a qualified practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming; an Electromagnetic Stimulation Therapist and I have completed Touch For Health training last year. And on the path of constant learning to better my health and quality of life.
Thank you, Michael E Morrison.
Michael’s books are available from amazon and his personal website is: