MANCHESTER — Breathe New Hampshire has recognized Brenda Richards of Laconia as its December Volunteer of the Month.
When Brenda's mother passed away from complications of COPD in 2008, the family suggested that donations be made to Breathe NH in her memory.
"She was a smoker for most of her life," says Brenda. "It was painful to watch my beautiful mother succumb to this addiction. Though everyone is familiar with the effects of smoking and the dreaded diagnosis of Lung Cancer, COPD was relatively unknown to our family." Her mother had been using inhalers and taking other medicines to relieve symptoms, but she was not using oxygen. "I wish I had been aware of Breathe NH before 2008," says Brenda.
Three years ago, Brenda started volunteering with her daughter at Breathe New Hampshire's Eager Breather's Fresh Air Day Cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee. The annual cruise is a big deal for the many pulmonary rehabilitation patients who participate and who look forward to the event each year. "You can tell by the smiles on their faces," Brenda explains. "There is much laughter, eating, gift shopping and even a little bit of dancing (some doing wheelies in their wheel chairs)."
While the cruise is Brenda's favorite event because she can directly serve those living with lung disease, she has also been involved with Breathe New Hampshire's Golf Classic and Bike Tour fundraisers and more recently joined the Volunteer Action Committee.
In this fast-paced world in which we live, Brenda continues to believe that it is important to make time to help others. "If we can help a person who is suffering from a chronic lung issue feel not so alone and provide them with the tools to live better lives, then mission accomplished!"
Brenda has over 20 years experience with marketing and publishing and currently freelances as a graphic designer. With a daughter in college and son in the Air Force, Brenda and her husband are now empty nesters and like to spend their spare time traveling and boating on the lake or the ocean.
Established in 1916, Breathe New Hampshire is the state's oldest nonprofit voluntary health agency and is committed to promoting lung health in New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.breathenh.org or call 1- 800-835-8647.