In Memory of Roger Ryder

Lucy Ryder

Sadly my dad passed away in August 2017. Amongst other health issues he had been suffering from Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis (CPA) which is a devastating long-term fungal infection of the lungs caused by the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, a type of fungus (a spore-forming mould) commonly found on plants, soil, rotting vegetable matter, household dust, building materials, and food items. Everyone breathes in at least several hundred of these spores every day, but they don’t usually cause illness in people with healthy immune systems – unfortunately my dad already had a compromised immune system and also lung cavities created earlier in his life from an illness similar to TB which provided warm homes in which aspergilloma (fungal balls) were able to grow. CPA is a horrid disease – for my dad, it caused a persistent cough, occasional bleeding in the lungs, weight loss and constant breathlessness and fatigue. In recent months he had been fortunate enough to have been under the care of the National Aspergillosis Centre, at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, who had prescribed expensive anti-fungal drugs which were helping to control the fungal infection. CPA is a relatively rare disease, it is estimated that around only 450 to 700 people in England have CPA

The term Aspergillosis Covers a group of diseases that include Chronic incurable infections and Severe allergies. It can attack people of any age. Aspergillosis infections can affect any area of the body, but by far the most common are the lungs and sinuses. Aspergillosis affects around 15 million people worldwide and kills 1 million each year.

Pulmonary (lung) Aspergillosis causes Severe breathing difficulties, mucous plugs that are difficult to cough up and fatigue. In some cases, it causes large, frightening lung bleeds and permanent lung damage (Cavities). Aspergillosis often affects people with existing (Severe) asthma, including children. It seems to make Asthma far worse. Other conditions that are closely linked with Aspergillosis include; Cystic Fibrosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Tuberculosis. Also, Bronchiectasis which is a permanent widening of airways from Mucous plugs. This makes it difficult to clear mucus from the lungs causing further infection.

Aspergillosis can also affect people with a weakened immune system and in this form can rapidly kill. Cancer chemotherapy tends to weaken the immune system it may also arise from immunosupportive therapy. This is used to stop organ rejection in people who have received a transplant. Other people affected are those with a genetic (inherited) primary Immunodeficiency syndrome – A large number of these are also children.

The main Difficulty in raising awareness is that illness caused by Aspergillosis often goes unrecorded when people have other conditions. This makes Aspergillosis a hidden killer disease.

FIT (Fungal infection Trust) is a little-known charity which works tirelessly to raise monies for research into fungal infection, to improve the diagnosis and treatment of fungal illnesses and to increase the awareness of their impact. FIT also set up and supports the Aspergillus website, a resource which provides educational information and support for patients, doctors and scientists who deal with Aspergillus infections.

Please, can you share this to help spread even more awareness of this silent killer? Please if you know of anyone from the public eye who may be willing to help spread awareness please let me know.❤️

Thanks for the support Lucy, Sally and Michael. xx

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