Mid Ulster fundraiser aims to raise awareness of deadly lung disease
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Dr Josef Kuriacose, a popular and well known medical practitioner from Magherafelt, sadly passed away on April 15 last year from Pulmonary Fibrosis.
A small committee of local people have since come together to organise the 'Every Breath Matters' fundraiser to help acquire and build a much needed respite centre for patients and families affected by the disease.
Almost £70,000 has so far been donated from individuals and local businesses, and the organisers hope this generously from the public will continue.
The organisers are aiming to raise £150,000 for Pulmonary Fibrosis NI, a registered charity and support group which has been set up to provide support and respite to sufferers and their families.
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred.
Although there is little public awareness of Pulmonary Fibrosis, every community has people who are suffering and dying from the disease.
About 360 people are diagnosed each year in Northern Ireland and life expectancy is between just three and five years.
Michael Kelly, who is a member of the fundraising committee, described Mid Ulster as 'a hotspot' with approximately 25 known cases of the disease in the area.
The Draperstown man explained the fundraiser will culminate in a marquee charity golf event on June 30 at Cookstown’s Killymoon Golf Club, where Dr Josef was captain for two years during Covid.
Michael explained that the support for the fundraiser, which was originally meant to be a golf day, was so ovewhelming that “it morphed into something different”.
He said: “It started off as a golf event hoping to raise around £12,000 but the support we have had from local business owners, who have been very generous financially, has meant the goal posts have changed. It really has struck a chord with so many people as there are so many people in the local area who are suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis or know someone who has been affected by it.”
If you would like to make a donation visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/everybreathmatters