A MAN who has struggled with lung problems and breathing difficulties since he was a child has achieved an ambition of climbing to the top of Kendal Castle.

Seventy-eight year-old Tony Luisi, who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) about 15 years ago, has noticed great improvements in his breathing since enrolling on the pulmonary rehabilitation course at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).

He has wanted to climb the castle for 25 years but was never fit enough. Aided by wife Maureen, the couple reached the summit after two hours and plenty of stops to catch his breath.

"With a lot of grit and determination we finally made it and found a seat at the top where we sat for 45 minutes getting out lungs working again and reminiscing the places we recognised," said Mr Luisi, from Kendal. "Then we strolled back down at a leisurely place. It took a lot out of us but we just had to do it for the respiratory team which helped me tremendously."

"I can’t recommend the course enough and I am very grateful to the staff that helped me, their dedication to their job and helping others is great.

"I was determined to do it. It feels as though I've achieved something."

Mr Luisi was determined to take control of his breathing when doing simple day to day tasks and joined the classes organised by the South Lakes Respiratory Team.

“The course has been really good and I would highly recommend it to anyone with breathing difficulties," he said. "Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital, including a two year stint when I was eight years old and again when I was 26 after my lung collapsed.

"A couple of years ago during the winter I spent more time in hospital because my breathing deteriorated with the cold air but from going along to the classes the exercises have really helped me control my breathing and gain more strength."

Alison Brenton, specialist respiratory occupational therapist who helped Tony at the classes, said: “As with any form of treatment, you get out of it what you put into it and this is especially true for pulmonary rehabilitation.

"We tailor our exercise programme to meet the individual goals of the participant and achievement of those goals is the most satisfying way that we measure success.

“For Tony to be able to climb to the castle is a validation of all the hard work he’s put in during the sessions, and at home in between. It’s a fantastic achievement!

“The other important aspect of managing lung health is education and understanding your lung condition. We offer a series of talks in Kendal that are open to anyone with a lung condition and their carers to help improve self-management.”

Mrs Luisi has also seen a huge difference in her husband.

“Since Tony has completed the course, I’ve noticed a huge difference in his breathing, especially as he doesn’t get out of breath as much when he’s walking," she said. "It really has done him the world of good”.

Lung talks in Kendal can be booked by calling The South Lakes Respiratory Team on 01539 716670