Annual Report 2017

Few experiences can be compared to what patients diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) feel: a deteriorating lung disease with no cure that progressively affects their physical capabilities and social life. One needs to be determined and strong to face such an enemy. In 2017, we interviewed 13 COPD patients from 10 European countries to show that no matter the nationality and the disease severity, people find in themselves the strength to act against all odds. 
#COPDMove was a project from patients to motivate patients face the disease and live better. Participants are patients who have been coping with COPD for years. In the videos they explain why they decided to exercise, and they share their own tricks and routines, encouraging other patients to be active. For them training is not only possible, but worth it!

The patients in #COPDMove have developed their own strategy. Some do sports in a group to better enjoy the training, fight loneliness and increase their self-esteem. Others prefer to be accompanied by their physiotherapist, who helps them improve their breathing technique. But all agree that thanks to sport they can continue with their lives, be independent and stronger to face their daily challenges.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects approximately 5-10% of all adults in European countries. Thanks to this project, we raised awareness about COPD at European level. We marked World COPD Day with a Press Release and a #COPDMove video requesting better diagnosis, smoking cessation programmes and access to pulmonary rehabilitation, as part of a training routine. Regular and guided exercise for COPD patients is not a reimbursed therapy in many EU countries, despite the fact that it helps patients live better lives, use less medication and reduce hospitalisations.  

Many Members of the European Parliament took a stand in World COPD and the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis reassured the press that COPD is in the EU Commission plans, and that they would discuss EFA asks “in the Steering Group on Promotion and Prevention, just established,…to propose to Member States how to tackle those issues in their primary care system”.

Special thanks to Marie Henriot (France, FFAAIR), Joan Alonso Catells (Spain, FENAER), Ersilia Cimino (Italy, Federasma e Allergie Onlus), Peter Van der Veeken and Anneke Struis (The Netherlands, Longfonds), Eva Angorsova (Czech Republic, CIPA), Janet O’Leary and John Conley (Ireland, COPD Support Ireland), Michael Wilken (Germany, DPLA), Günther Hirsch (Austria, Lungenunion), Zeca Dias Pinheiro (Portugal, RESPIRA), Tobias Heller (Switzerland).

Marie France


“I encourage other patients to move, even if only doing household tasks, going shopping if they can. They should only do what they can within their means, according to their abilities, and their inclinations too”.

Marie Henriot, France

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Tobias 2

“I exercise to keep my health relatively stable, a weight-training facilitates breathing and that helps me get more oxygen”. […] “Practicing your favorite sport in a group it is the best way to ensure continuity in your training”.

Tobias Heller, Switzerland

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PT Zeca


“I have felt a lot of improvement in my physical health, because I feel better, I increase my efforts; I have stopped using a cortisone inhaler”.

Zeca Dias Pinheiro, Portugal

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Spain Joan 2


“Sport has been highly beneficial for my breathing”.

Joan Alonso, Spain

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Eva CZ


“Just give a try and start training on a regular basis. It will help you”.

Eva Angorsova, Czech Republic

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Peter NL


"We don’t need to say that much to understand each other. It is a laugh and a cry and it is really good to have that".

Peter Van der Veeken, the Netherlands

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Ersilia IT


“After the training, in general, I always feel really good and really happy from having done it”.

Ersilia Cimino, Italy 

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Janet IR


“I thoroughly enjoy it, so that is the half of the battle”.

Janet O’Leary, Ireland

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Germany Michael


“If you are active, your quality of life will increase and you live

longer”. Michael Wilken, Germany

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Gunther AT 2


“The very moment you actively engage, you are becoming more hopeful and depression recedes”.

 Günther Hirsch, Austria

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Anneke NL 1


 “After the training, I always feel better than I would without exercising; and even better, you feel good about yourself”.

Anneke Struis, the Netherlands

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IR John


“About four years ago, I was on oxygen 24h a day. I had oxygen at night, I had a compressor in the room and I said I’m not going to have this for the rest of my life. Since then, Andrew has been keeping me in tip top-shape. I can garden, can walk, I can almost do anything”.

John Conley, Ireland

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