Doreen using an electric bike to be active with a lung condition


After being diagnosed with a lung condition, Doreen was eager to not give up her adventurous lifestyle. With the right support, she was able to build up her fitness and now she enjoys Tia Chi, long walks and bike rides.


Doreen’s Story

At three years old I caught measles. Since then I have always had some breathing problems. But I have always been active! I had a boat and grew up outdoors, I‘ve been a canoe instructor and my husband and I have always enjoyed being out and exploring. We even had motorbikes!

15 years ago I got a severe chest infection. This turned into pseudomonas and I was confined to a wheelchair, being supported by an oxygen tank. The doctor at the time told me I would most likely be in the chair for life. I might never be able to be active and adventurous again.

I got in touch with my local respiratory unit and learnt about Be Active, Breathe Easy. Andy, who runs the sessions, was so helpful. He was with me every step of the way. We started small, just standing up out of the wheelchair to start. Then I did a few steps with him by my side. I was still wearing my oxygen but making progress.

Eventually, I got more confident and we tried standing up without my oxygen on. I didn’t really need it, I was doing fine without it if I did so in small stages. Still, I never tried anything without Andy and then my husband by my side.

Andy’s help and encouragement helped me get back to being active. Finally, I found my adventurous side again.

I have so much more freedom now. I can go out and meet my friends.

How exercise has helped me

Being confined to a chair, it doesn’t take long for your muscles to waste away. Being active again has helped me to build these muscles back up, as well as ensuring they stay strong. I know my body is in a much better condition and I am healthier all round. This gives me the best chance.

Leaving my chair and oxygen behind has given me so much more freedom! Now, I can go out to meet up with my friends now and I have joined an art group. I would never have been able to do that before.

I know if I stopped being active, I would regress. My health would become worse and I could become more ill.

Read next

Living and Running, with Cancer

Elizabeth took up running after a secondary cancer diagnosis.

Rediscovering my adventurous side by being active with a lung condition

Doreen shares how she learnt to be active with a lung condition.

Fitness with Fibro

Sophie tells us how doing the Couch to 5k has changed her life.

Our Partners

Helping us tackle inactivity to boost health and happiness

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get energising ideas direct to your inbox