Monday, December 5, 2022

Issue:

Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Radio Legend’s Lung Warning

Image: Paul “Campo” Campion

It’s been over one year since Paul “Campo” Campion lost his mother to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

These days, Paul can be heard across the southeast Queensland airwaves on Ipswich-based radio station River949, but he grew up in Armstrong Beach, near Sarina, and says his north Queensland childhood was wonderful.

“I’ve got many fond memories of growing up in Sarina,” he said.

“It was a wonderful time through the 80s, a lot of fun for kids.”

When Paul left Sarina State High School in 1987, he got a job at Mackay radio station 4MK, embarking on a career in radio that would take him to Sydney and Brisbane.

He has also become an advocate for COPD after watching his mother struggle with it for 20 years.

“There’s no real cure, it just keeps deteriorating,” said Paul.

“Your lung filaments die and it’s very slow.

“Your lungs just continually deteriorate as the years go by.”

COPD affects around one in 13 Australians over the age of 40 and is the number one cause of avoidable hospitalisations in Australia.

The lung condition worsens over time and leads to increasing breathing difficulty, disability and premature death, usually affecting people aged over 45 but often going unnoticed or undiagnosed for a long time.

Paul said COPD heavily affected his mother’s quality of life.

“As years went by, she couldn’t really leave the house because she was on the oxygen tank,” he said.

“It was very difficult to watch when we all came home for Christmas, all the kids were there, she could talk and everything but there was no getting up and enjoying life.

“Watching my mum, over the years, deteriorate and lose her quality of life, I think it’s enough for anyone to tell people to look after your lungs, look after your breathing, because once they’re gone, you’re stuffed.”

World COPD Day was held on November 16 and saw Lung Foundation Australia launch its blueprint calling on the state and federal governments to take urgent action to improve COPD care and outcomes.

“We urgently need to create pathways for lifelong prevention of COPD, earlier diagnosis, and improved awareness and treatment of this condition,” said Lung Foundation Australia Board Member and Respiratory Expert Professor Christine Jenkins AM.

“Much can be done to address these inadequacies of care delivery, and this Blueprint describes the innovations and changes in service delivery that could accelerate this.”

There are many ways to avoid COPD and Paul said not smoking and early detection is key.

“Anyone who’s sucking foreign substances into their lungs, there’s going to be issues later in life,” he said.

“If you’re starting to get short of breath, struggling to run or be active, starting to cough, you might want to check it out sooner rather than later.

“With early detection, you can have quality of life, but my mum was too far gone.”

Lung Foundation Australia have prepared ‘Making Lung Cancer A Fair Fight: A Blueprint for Reform’ to raise awareness about the burden of lung cancer in Australia and the particular challenges faced by people diagnosed with the condition.

To view the Blueprint, visit the following link: https://lungfoundation.com.au/resources/making-lung-cancer-a-fair-fight-a-blueprint-for-reform/.

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