Phil Jacobs can measure success in steps. 176 feet worth of steps, to be exact. When Jacobs started CMC’s Pulmonary Fitness Program in March of 2019, he could only walk 150 feet in six minutes. Two months later, with the help of a walker, the 94-year-old more than doubled that distance.
“I feel a lot better than I have in a long time because I’ve been coming here,” said a smiling Jacobs at his program graduation in May. “I enjoy coming here. We’ve got a good group.”
Jacobs was referred to the Pulmonary Fitness Program after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that causes a thickening of the lungs and makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. At 94, that kind of diagnosis can be especially dire. But working with respiratory therapist Lorna Marshall and exercise specialist Kate Rendall, he made significant progress.
“A lot of what you get out of the program has to do with attitude and motivation, and he had a great attitude and was motivated” says Marshall of the program’s oldest graduate. “Everyone in the class said he was an inspiration to them. They would cheer him on.”
The Pulmonary Fitness program runs 16 classes over the course of eight weeks and helps patients with varying degrees of lung or respiratory conditions. Each patient has their own story and their own measures of success, but they all work together in group therapy and they all look to each other for support.
“I thoroughly enjoy this time because of all of the people I work with,” says Jacobs, referring to both his classmates and the medical staff. “People ask ‘how can you go over to CMC and have fun?’ but I do and it makes the job so much easier.”
Learn more about the Pulmonary Fitness Program.