A woman who worked as a senior hospital manager, magistrate and school governor lost her life to a rare condition after colleagues noticed her coughing. Anne Doran was an active person, going to the gym and on long walks.
But life changed suddenly when she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). It is a disease that affects just 50 in every 100,000 people.
Sadly there is no cure. Those diagnosed with it, like Anne, from Wigan, are eventually left bedbound and struggling to breathe.
It was 2014 when work mates of Anne at the Royal Liverpool Hospital noticed her coughing. She was 58 at the time of her diagnosis.
Despite this, she kept working in her three roles before losing her battle in August 2020. Now, Anne’s family are raising money for Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis charity.
Anne’s daughter, Louise Doran, told the MEN : “She was going walking, going the gym, you know she was healthy. Then this came along and at first, she wasn’t on oxygen and she could still get about.
“She was going into work coughing, and someone picked it up and said to her, ‘you better get it checked out’, so she did and had a lung biopsy and it was diagnosed as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Then she needed to go on oxygen and she could do less, and less and less.
“In the end, she’d be sat on the sofa, and just lifting her arm up or just moving one space along, the oxygen in her blood was getting lower. Even though she was getting oxygen, her lungs couldn’t deal with it because there was scarring to them.
“It’s so limiting, you can’t talk, you eat less and less. You end up being bed-bound and, sadly, from my mum’s experience, once you’re at that stage you probably haven’t got long left.”
At the moment there are only two drugs which slow progression of the disease. Limited clinical trials exist, as do lung transplants, but they aren’t available to all patients.
Louise added: “They don’t know what caused it. They asked her all of the usual questions – have you worked in a mine, have you kept pigeons, do you smoke? And the answer was no to all of those questions, so they couldn’t pinpoint what it was.
“There are quite a few people that have got it and they don’t know what caused it. There are various groups on Facebook with hints and tips for people who’ve got IPF, so they can try to support each other.
“But there are people still struggling there now, just as much as my mum was two years ago, and there don’t seem to have been many changes. Charities are doing research to try to find a cure, which is brilliant, but the day-to-day things really could be so much better. It’s such a poor quality of life, it’s awful to see.”
Now, Louise and her sister Jenny have arranged a charity event in Stockport to raise money for Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis, which helped their mum. They have organised an audience with author and historian Alison Weir.
The event will take place at the Guildhall in Stockport on June 30. They have also organised for an re-enactment group to appear in costume, and are hosting a raffle.
Prizes include a Dyson vacuum worth £379.99 as well as signed books donated by Tracy Borman and Tracy Chevalier. Alison will be available for book signings and will be in conversation with Dr Martin Heale, reader in medieval history at the University of Liverpool.
Tickets cost £10, to book a ticket for the event, click here.