Breathe NH celebrates its volunteers at The Inside Scoop

BEDFORD – Four dozen Breathe New Hampshire volunteers enjoyed lunch, ice cream, and lots of prizes at an open house at The Inside Scoop to celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Breathe NH was established in 1916 to fight tuberculosis. Over the decades its mission of fighting lung disease remains, but today a critical focus is on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is the third leading killer in the United States, and the second leading cause of disability.

As a 501c3 nonprofit, Breathe NH relies on a team of dedicated volunteers to accomplish its mission. So Vice President of Philanthropy and volunteers Kelly Sicard held the thank-you event on the hundredth day of Breathe’s hundredth year, at Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Inside Scoop owner, Hillary Rankins, donated several prizes for the drawing and said it was fun for her staff to host the group.

Marilyn Ross of Pembroke has volunteered for many years, and used to teach a smoking cessation class. She continues to volunteer for Breathe NH at events including the annual Eager Breather’s Fresh Air Day Cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee, and the Fairways for Airways Golf Classic.

"I had a gentleman in my smoking cessation class who loved to swim, but he had to give it up when he became too short of breath due to smoking," Ross said. He was finally able to quit in Ross’s program, and returned to the pool. She views him as her "greatest success story."

Kelly Kingsbury of Stoddard began volunteering for Breathe NH when she was looking for an opportunity to share her photography skills.

Tony Jolley of Manchester watched his mother die from lung disease more than 10 years ago and began volunteering then. "If I can get one person to quit smoking," he said, "I’ve done something important."

Breathe New Hampshire is celebrating a century as the only public health agency in the state dedicated solely to lung health. Breathe New Hampshire’s mission is to eliminate lung disease and improve the quality of life for those with lung disease, from asthma to COPD.