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The Buzz > COPD sufferer Polly is hoping to walk the 40 steps to her holiday apartment

COPD sufferer Polly is hoping to walk the 40 steps to her holiday apartment

Polly Hoad has a dream. She wants to be able to walk the 40 steps that lead up to her little holiday apartment in India. 

Your support means we can be with Polly every step of the way.

Polly suffers from the debilitating lung condition COPD. And, with the help and support of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, she is working hard on her recovery, so she’s fit to travel again.

You can help make Polly’s dream come true. Because as a supporter of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, you can ensure we are there for Polly and so many people with conditions like hers.

Now, more than ever, Polly needs you and us beside her. Thank you for your help.

A lifelong fighter

It takes a lot to keep Polly Hoad down. The 68-year-old was a single parent who built up her own design business, then had to start again from scratch after a devastating stroke at the age of 45.

Now learning to live with the debilitating condition, COPD, which affects her breathing and makes exercise very difficult, Polly is being supported by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Polly is learning to live with the debilitating lung condition COPD, and has also suffered a stroke.

She was referred to our Hospital to Home service after a fall last year left her with a broken wrist and progressively troubled breathing. Now Polly is part of our weekly respiratory peer support group where she is helped to manage her condition and put through exercises to improve her fitness.

From her home on a hill outside of the West Highlands village where she lives, Polly has set herself a target of walking to and from the village – with the final challenge to climb up and down a flight of steps.

She needs to conquer those because her dream is to return to her holiday home in India, which has 40 steps leading up to the front door.

Liverpool-born but happily at home in the Highlands for more than 45 years, Polly says: "I have faced lots of setbacks in my life but learning to live with COPD is one the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced.

"The support and help I’ve had from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland really pushed me on and given me the confidence that I need."

Getting back on her feet

Polly had contracted a virus in early summer of 2020, which medics told her was a flare-up of COPD. Her breathing gradually got worse, then – in April 2021 – she fell and broke her wrist in three places.

She was helped by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Hospital to Home Service and initially received five pre-arranged support calls with an Advice Line nurse every two weeks.

In the autumn, she was referred to the respiratory peer group, run by Frances Tait, our Physical Activity Specialist. But even before she joined the weekly online sessions, Polly had decided to take matters into her own hands. She began walking from her home to the village and back, determined to be fit enough to make it up and down the steps by the harbour.

Learning to live with COPD is one the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced

She says: "I had a couple of chest infections during the winter and Covid-19 is still a threat, so I haven’t been able to get out as much as I want to. But I am still optimistic that I’ll make it to India later this year.

"I have to retrain my body and strengthen my legs and my breathing, and thanks to everyone at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, I feel ready for the challenge."

Frances Tait adds: "Polly has been struggling lately due to the bad weather, which has naturally had a negative impact on her breathing. But she is so determined to get out and walk. She is such an amazing lady to work with.

"Thanks to supporters like you, people like Polly have the chance to live their lives to the full again."

If you'd like to support COPD sufferers like Polly, learn more about how you can support us and donate what you can today: chss.org.uk/donate

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

Your donation can help people do more than just survive – you can help them really live.

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