South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has taken on the role of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) parliamentary champion for charity Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland.
The local MSP was IPF champion in the Scottish Parliament last term and he is delighted to continue the role to help raise awareness of lung health across Scotland.
IPF is a type of lung disease that results in scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs for an unknown reason. Over time, the scarring gets worse and it becomes hard to take in a deep breath and the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen.
The subject is personal for Colin, whose father died in 2013 from heart failure and IPF.
Approximately 2,500 people in Scotland are living with IPF and across the UK, an estimated 6,000 are diagnosed with it every year.
Colin Smyth said: “I have the privilege of being Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland’s champion for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
“It’s a condition I’d never heard of until my own dad was diagnosed with IPF. It sadly contributed to his death just a few months after that diagnosis.
“Eight years on, there’s still a lack of awareness, a lack of research and a lack of treatment for IPF and we need to change that.
“I’m honoured to take on this role of IPF Champion once again and I intend to do all I can to raise awareness of IPF both in and out of the Scottish Parliament.”
Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland, said: “IPF is sadly a progressive lung condition without a cure. As it affects thousands of families across Scotland, it is vital we do everything we can to raise awareness and campaign for more research into treatments.
“That’s why we’re delighted to have our lung champion for IPF, Colin Smyth MSP, to help us make sure that people with IPF’s voices are heard both in parliament and across Scotland.
“To find out more about the support available to people with IPF, including our pulmonary fibrosis support groups, please visit: blf.org.uk/support-for-you”