A new study is underway at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, as part of a London South Bank University research programme examining the effects of Tai Chi on the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. The study is being funded by the Tracie Lawlor Trust, which was set up in memory of Tracy Lawlor, from Wexford in Ireland, who died from the disease at just 24 years old in 2007. The trust was set up in 2008 by Tracie’s brother, Joe Lawlor, 25, who also has cystic fibrosis. The Tracie Lawlor Trust raises money to help others who are living with the condition and fund evidence-based complementary medicine for cystic fibrosis sufferers.
More than 2.5 million people in the UK have cystic fibrosis; that’s a staggering one out of every twenty-five people. The condition, which is caused by a faulty gene, causes the lungs and digestive tract to become blocked with mucus, making it hard for sufferers to breathe and digest food. There is currently no cure for the disease but there are measures available to help manage the condition, such as exercise, complementary therapies and nutrition. The Tracie Lawlor trust provides a patients assistance fund, through which patients can receive Tai Chi and Acupuncture and purchase equipment including treadmills, bikes and pulse oximeters.
Tracie Lawlor was diagnosed with the hereditary genetic condition CF when she was one year old. Despite her condition she lived an interesting and admirable life. She studied English and music at university, volunteered with a disabled charity in New York and travelled around China for six months. Tracie is an ongoing inspiration to her brother Joe Lawlor, who is currently studying neuroscience at university.
‘As a CF patient you always hear negative stories, horror stories, but Tracie’s story was an example of real achievement despite her illness. Tracie had so many friends, she never let CF hold her back. If I ever whinged about it, I would get a swift slap around the head.‘ – Joe Lawlor, founder Tracie Lawlor Trust
To date, the trust has raised around £200,000 since it was set up. Within that figure approximately £40,000 raised has gone directly towards the new study being carried out by researchers from London’s South Bank University into the effects of Tai Chi on CF patients. The Tracie Lawlor Trust needs to raise another £11,000 for the study to be completed.
‘It is really exciting as it has never been done before. It is something I do to help my CF and it helps my mental health and overall feeling of wellbeing. It is excellent at maintaining health for CF patients and improving mental health too.‘ – Joe Lawlor, founder Tracie Lawlor Trust