FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has congratulated Steven Chalmers from Mintlaw on his campaign to raise awareness of his lung condition, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) which results in scarring and thickening of the lungs.
His praise came during IPF awareness week which ran during September.
Mr Salmond, MSP for Aberdeenshire East, has been assisting Mr Chalmers in his bid to make more people aware of his condition.
Following representations from Mr Salmond in his role as constituency MSP, the Head of the British Lung Foundation in Scotland, Dr James Cant, agreed to meet with Mr Chalmers and enlisted him as a British Lung Foundation expert patient.
This will mean that Mr Chalmers will be able to share his expertise as widely as possible to support fellow-patients and their families.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has put Mr Chalmers clinician in touch with key officials to make information on IPF available on the NHS Knowledge Network website. It has also assisted in allowing an IPF information booklet to be shared more widely among sufferers of the condition.
Commenting, the Aberdeenshire East MSP said: “I was interested to listen to Steven’s experiences of living with the condition when I met with him earlier in the year and I am pleased that some progress has been made in his campaign.
“Steven is a relentless campaigner for IPF with a wide network of campaign contacts. I am happy to have been able to support his efforts so far and look forward to assisting him in the future.”
Dr James Cant, Head of the British Lung Foundation Scotland & Northern Ireland, said: “Common respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD often grab headlines. At the British Lung Foundation we feel strongly that IPF, although rarer, must not be forgotten. We’re working hard, with the help of people like Mr Chalmers, to ensure awareness of IPF continues to grow.
“IPF Week has been a great opportunity to draw attention to the condition and ensure people know what the British Lung Foundation can do to support patients. We offer a range of support through our Breathe easy network, helpline, online community and website.
“It is still unclear why more and more people are being diagnosed with IPF but it is typical of diagnosis rates where awareness of a condition increases.”