PEOPLE can learn how to breathe easy at an event to mark World COPD Day.
The informative afternoon will be held at the Raich Carter Centre, on Commercial Road, Hendon, from 2pm to 5pm on Wednesday.
A variety of speakers including doctors, carers and representatives from Breathe Easy and the British Lung Foundation will attend.
Ithas been organised by Janet Rutherford, practice manager at Fulwell Medical Centre, who has specialised in COPD care, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, for many years.
The 46-year-old, from South Bents, said: “There will be events all over the place to mark the day and ours is focussing on a new programme called Breathe well, Live Well, run by Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.
“The programme is about bringing services together and rehabilitation.
“It offers exercises at all different levels, for people who can use gym equipment and for people who need chair-bound exercise.
“COPD is a massive problem in Sunderland and we have more people with COPD than anywhere else in the North East.
“People with breathing problems can get scared of going out and meeting people and their lives become smaller and lonelier which is really sad.
“The aim of our programme is to show that there is help and support and a social side to things.
“We want to see people be as well as they can be.”
Chairman and founder of Sunderland’s Breathe Easy group, Colin Hough, 77, said: “The purpose is for people to come along and find out more about COPD and groups like Breathe Easy.
“I got involved three years ago and it’s fantastic. It makes all the difference.”
Patients can be referred to the programme through their doctor or medical team, and the initial course lasts for eight weeks.