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Pulmonary Fibrosis NI

2210. Tom McMillan

Tom McMillan, from County Antrim, has been dedicated to supporting pulmonary fibrosis patients and families in Northern Ireland since his wife Una was diagnosed with the terminal disease in 2016.

Northern Ireland has a high rate of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease which affects the lungs, limits breathing and reduces life expectancy. As chair of the ‘Pulmonary Fibrosis NI Support Group’, Tom runs a support network for patients, families and carers and organises weekly meetings that allow people to share information, advice and personal experiences. Tom helped Pulmonary Fibrosis NI reach charitable status in 2021. Offering support to all pulmonary fibrosis patients across Northern Ireland, Tom’s efforts have enabled him to create a community of people, who all face similar challenges, that support each other through their diagnosis. 

Tom has undertaken a number of fundraising challenges, including a 90 mile cycle ride for his 70th birthday, and has helped raised funds to purchase ‘Puffin Lodge’, a holiday home in Ballycastle, ‘Puffin Lodge’ provides respite for patients and their families free of charge and although it is the only respite facility of its kind in Northern Ireland,  Tom is hoping to expand the service with another respite facility that will further support pulmonary fibrosis patients. 

In a personal letter to Tom, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“I was so sorry to learn about the diagnosis for your wife, Una, and so inspired to hear how you have drawn on your personal experiences to support hundreds of others facing the same disease.

“Through Pulmonary Fibrosis NI, you have created a community of patients, families and carers who are supporting each other, sharing information, advice and personal experiences.”

Tom said:

“I’m absolutely delighted and feel privileged to have received this award. It is an honour to be the Chair of Trustees of Pulmonary Fibrosis NI and to be part of a team of volunteers (Trustees and Ambassadors) serving our Pulmonary Fibrosis community.”

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The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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