World COPD Day is a day in November marked annually by many individuals living with COPD and healthcare professionals, as well as many national and international foundations and organisations, doing something of their choice to raise awareness of COPD.
To date, there has not been a coordinated awareness campaign on World COPD Day which joins the efforts of patients, healthcare professionals, foundations, and organisations into a single united, global event.
This is where the idea for the Big Baton Pass came from. A virtual Olympic torch, being passed between countries over World COPD Day, to bring everyone together as a global community with the same objective.
The Big Baton Pass was something which Russell Winwood (a person living with COPD, also known as the COPD athlete), really felt really passionate about. He felt it was essential to take the conversation around COPD outside of the already-invested ‘respiratory world’ and into more mainstream media.
For Russell, finding a cure or better treatments which will improve the quality of life of people living with COPD is very important. It is this desire which compelled him 10 years ago to become a COPD advocate. Every year, like many other patients, he has tried to mark World COPD Day with some sort of awareness campaign. But despite his & others best efforts, more funding is needed for COPD.
“Never let your disease define you. I think it’s important as we are often judged by our disease severity rather than our will.” Russell Winwood
Like Russell, respiratory physiotherapist Ruth Barker, has always thought the COPD community could create more awareness as a united voice rather than what has been done in the past. So, when they came across each other it seemed the planets were aligning for this to happen.
So, looking forward to the Big Baton Pass on 15 November 2023, Russell and Ruth have the same hope. That the World COPD Day Big Baton Pass will become an annual global event which will successfully raise the awareness of the global issue that is COPD, and as a result gain traction with funding agencies to see more investment to make advances in the treatment of COPD.
For Russell, the hope is that fellow patients also see this as an opportunity to get involved so that their voices can be part of a movement to improve all patients’ quality of life.
Do follow The Big Baton pass on the day and retweet if you’d like to join in!
There will be a programme which includes presentations from each of the baton host sites across the world, who will be live streaming activities for anyone to join in with, via a live broadcast to raise the awareness of and promote the benefits of being active when living with COPD.
The link to join the live broadcast to hear the presentations, and to join in live with activities, will be available via this webpage on World COPD Day.