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The Blue Ribbon Foundation is Improving Lung Health for At-risk Individuals

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
May 1, 2012

$4,000 grant funds Better Breathers Club educational programs

May 1, 2012, Wilkes-Barre, PA —May is National Breathe Easy Month, and The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) recently funded education and outreach programs through the American Lung Association (ALA) that are helping local residents improve their lung function and overall health.

“According to ALA statistics, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading overall cause of death in the U.S.,” said Tony Delonti, program specialist, American Lung Association in Pennsylvania.  “The good news is that both of these conditions can be prevented or minimized through early detection, lifestyle change and proper chronic care management.”

The Foundation’s grant of $4,000, awarded last fall, helped the ALA establish three new, community-based Better Breathers Club education programs in Wayne, Lackawanna and Tioga Counties to help patients and caregivers – especially those facing a new diagnosis – address these issues.

In Wayne County, a Better Breathers Club was established at Wayne Memorial Hospital to provide support for local residents with lung conditions.

“I have breathing problems because of years of smoking, and started attending the Better Breathers Club on the advice of my doctor,” said Elaine Bauer, Hawley.  “At the meetings, I have learned breathing exercises that have helped me walk faster and longer without losing my breath.”

She added, “The meetings are very helpful because the doctors and other speakers give us great advice, and we all share our experiences to try to help each other.”

“Our grant to support the Better Breathers Club is just one example of how we partner with community nonprofits to address some of the most pressing health issues facing our region today,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s executive director.

For more information about the Better Breathers Club program at Wayne Memorial Hospital, contact 570-253-8990.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 550,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations we serve.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.