Programme that turned Belfast man’s life around now running in Newry

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Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Community, What's On
Father of two Paddy Lynas from Belfast thought his life was over when he was diagnosed with COPD, a respiratory disease. PaddyLynasThen he got a letter from Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke asking if he would like to join their “Taking Control” Self Management Programme for people with long term chest, heart and stroke conditions. Paddy explained to Newry Times, “To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. I was depressed, I found it hard to breathe and my skin was grey. “But part of the idea of self management is that you make a promise about what you hope to achieve. I said I would walk three miles, and I did. Then I promised I would walk six. Before too long, I’d lost more than two stones in weight and stopped all my tablets. “Walking is my medicine now. But if it hadn’t been for NI Chest Heart & Stroke, I simply wouldn’t be here today. They saved my life,” he insisted. The “Taking Control” Self Management Programme has a proven track record across Northern Ireland, where 200,000 people are living with a long term chest, heart or stroke condition. Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke is running this 6 week programme, which is free to attend, at the Altnaveigh House, 51 Downshire Road, Newry BT34 1EE, starting on Tuesday at 10.30am until 1pm. It will run each Tuesday for six consecutive weeks. Long term health conditions, like Paddy’s, can affect all parts of life, not just our health. People living with long term health conditions also have to learn to cope with any changes they might have to make to their work, social or family lives. Readjusting can be very difficult on a practical and emotional level, but the Programme aims to give people with long term conditions the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives. Billy McClintock, from Co Down, who had heart bypass surgery in 2006, knows this from experience. “Taking control of your health condition isn’t easy, but I know the benefits. “I feel that because of the Programme I have a better understanding of my condition and am able to cope with it in a much more positive way. Now I am controlling my long–term health condition rather than the condition controlling me.” The Programme also offers participants the opportunity to meet and share with others who are going through similar day-to-day experiences. At the end of it, people have reported marked improvements in their quality of life. Jamsie Nicholl, who was the captain and former team mate of Pat Jennings and George Best, attended the Programme after he had a stroke. He commented, “I enjoyed it that much, and got so much out of it, that if it had started at 8 o’clock in the morning and ran into the evening I would have been there. It gave me the confidence I needed to get back into society.” If, like Paddy, Billy and Jamesie, you are living with a chest, heart or stroke condition, this Programme may be for you. To book a FREE place or to find out more, please call Julie McGinnis on 0791 2046 174 or e-mail at
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