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Press release              

Irish Lung Fibrosis Association Launches 2,000 Steps a Day Challenge for Lung Fibrosis Patients

Wednesday, 5th June: The Irish Lung Fibrosis Association (ILFA) today launched its 2,000 Steps a Day Challenge, a daily exercise plan developed to keep patients fit and in the best possible health. Developed by Irene Byrne, senior physiotherapist at the Heart and Lung Transplant Ward at the Mater Hospital in association with ILFA, the programme is geared towards encouraging patients to try to reach an extra 2,000 steps per day through gentle exercise, both outdoors and in the home. To aid patients, ILFA is providing pedometers, exercise diaries and walking vests free of charge.

At the launch of the 2,000 Steps Challenge were Nicola Cassidy (ILFA Committee member) and Irene Byrne, ILFA patrons Senator Fergal Quinn and GAA footballer Michael Darragh MacAuley, and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) patients Eileen O’Sullivan, Frank Tierney and Paddy O’Mahony.

Speaking at the launch, Nicola Cassidy of the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association, (ILFA), said: ‘We are delighted to launch this programme for patients living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, as we really hope it will encourage them to take extra steps each day to help them stay fit and healthy. We understand that some patients will find it more difficult than others, but we hope that by trying to do a little bit more each day, they will start to feel the benefits of the challenge and enjoy a better quality of life.’

Adding to this, Senator Fergal Quinn, ILFA patron said: ‘The 2,000 Steps Challenge is a truly wonderful programme, which I feel will be of great benefit to IPF patients. I have met with many of the patients and have seen first-hand what a debilitating disease it can be and how important it is to stay positive and motivated. I believe that this programme will inspire patients to help improve their own fitness.’

Also commenting at the launch was Professor Jim Egan, a leading international expert in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and a consultant respiratory physician at the Mater Hospital: ‘Irene Byrne and the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association have developed an excellent fitness programme for IPF patients. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is an uncommon, chronic, progressive and terminal condition, which involves the development of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the lungs. There is no known cause for IPF and the life expectancy is curtailed. Unfortunately there is currently no effective cure for the condition other than a transplant, so it is vitally important that patients maintain a reasonably good standard of health through exercise to ensure their wellbeing.’

The Irish Lung Fibrosis Association has developed the below top tips for patients who wish to take the 2,000 Steps Challenge

Ø  If you have a day without exercise or cannot reach 2000 steps, do not worry – the most important thing is to start again tomorrow

Ø  If you’re not feeling as good as usual, do not exercise as much. Instead, if you are feeling up to it, try the below:

o   Walk at slower speeds and take more rest breaks

o   Walk indoors rather than outdoors

o   Do indoor exercises to strengthen your arms and leg muscles

o   Put on some music and march on the spot

o   Get moving during the TV commercial breaks

o   If you have been unwell, cut back and start to build up your steps again

Ø  If you are feeling unwell, contact your GP for medical advice

Ø  When exercising, increase your oxygen flow if needed

For more information on ILFA and the 2,000 Steps Challenge, visit

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For further press information, interviews and case studies, please contact Claire Feely or Mark Kilbride at Elevate PR on 01 662 56 52 or email /

Notes to Editors:

About ILFA

ILFA was founded in 2002 to honour the memory of Fergus Goodbody who died from Lung Fibrosis. ILFA was set up by Nicky Goodbody, Terence Moran, Marie Sheridan, and Professor Jim Egan. The primary aims of the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association are to provide a source of information and support to people with the condition and to provide funding for research and the development of new treatments for Lung Fibrosis.

ILFA is funded solely by donations and the fundraising efforts of our supporters are vitally important for the continued existence of our research and education programmes.

About IPF

Fibrosis, (the development of scar tissue in the lungs), causes the lungs to become stiff, thus preventing the effective transfer of oxygen from the blood to the lungs. IPF is more commonly seen in men than women, mostly between the ages of 55 and 80 years, although it can occur in younger people. Patients develop extreme breathlessness, fatigue, cough and ultimately respiratory failure, requiring those living with IPF to rely heavily on oxygen therapy 24 hours a day. There are currently no drug treatments available to cure IPF.