The header photograph was taken by Paul Waine, and shows Bev Wears of the British Lung Foundation and Rebecca Oxley, post-doctoral researcher on the Life of Breath. Paul is a member of Breathe Easy Durham Dales, and has written a poem inspired by the Life of Breath, as well as an account of the group’s meeting on November 3rd 2016, which was place as part of the Life of Breath’s Breathing Space meeting. He writes:
Life of Breath
Breathing is a function of life
Each breath assisted by a diaphragm
Helps oxygenated air permeate lungs
Where alveoli are rife
Surrounding alveoli are capillaries
Absorbing oxygen into the blood
Oxygenated blood sent to the heart
Is pumped to each cellular part
After cellular use, a chemical is made
Carbon dioxide’s absorbed in the blood
Lungs receives it for expulsion
When every breath is exhaled
Pure respiratory systems are vital
To ensure healthy bodies exist
Exertive breathlessness is healthy
Whether a runner, climber or cyclist
Contaminated air fouls the lungs
Breathlessness will then persist
Life of breath gets shortened
Aware! Unhealthy bodies exist
Life of breath is measured
By human attitude to life
On November 3rd, Durham Dales Breathe Easy Group were invited to attend the Life of Breath ‘Breathing Space’ meeting at Hatfield College in Durham. On arrival the group were greeted by Anthropologist, Dr Rebecca Oxley and Bev Wears (Northern Service Development Manager with British Lung Foundation). Mary Robson (Creative Facilitator) introduced the meeting and hoped the group would learn more about Life of Breath. Dr Oxley gave a general oratory of the project’s diverse entities that are indicative to breathing and breathlessness. The Durham team are working in tandem with Bristol University.
Professor Jane Macnaughton of Durham University said their research in encapsulating diverse aspects of anthropology, philosophy, arts and medicine does have an impact on respiratory diseases. In answer to a difficult question regarding measurement of breath, Professor Macnaughton confirmed that the environment, physical activity or stresses are such traits assessed with varied results. Jayne Wilton, an exponent of the breath drawing, said the image shown on the postcard represents an experiment visualising her own breath measurement. Invisible breath becoming visible!
Arousing further interest, members were split into different groups to converse with some of the Life of Breath team. In our group Dr Andrew Russell, Co-Investigator with Durham University, Havi Carel a Professor of Philosophy with Bristol University, and Bristol GP Dr Gene Feder answered questions regarding individual respiratory problems. Discussions with a small group proved invaluable; learning how each individual copes with COPD. The group was given refreshments before Mary Robson brought the meeting to a close.
Chairman Harry Brown thanked the Life of Breath team for inviting Breathe Easy members to the college. He said the meeting was informative and appreciated the hospitality afforded. During our return home all members expressed their interest and delight in having received a warm reception.