Lung patients refuse to give up

Published: Mar. 11, 2019 at 6:14 PM CDT
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Jack Welker has chronic lung disease, a result of smoking and handling chemicals on the farm as he was growing up.

Welker attends the pulmonary rehabilitation program at Regional Health Hospital in Rapid City for an hour, 3 times a week.

"These guys make us want to come back and we know if we miss one, we're only hurting ourselves, this isn't like going to an exercise class downtown, this is for us," Welker said.

And as the main respiratory therapist, Ashley Frerichs holds her patients accountable.

Frerichs said, "What's hard is motivation, a lot of times we want to join a gym, or whatever it may be, we all say we will do it at home but we don't have that drive to come in here so this is an actual appointment time."

With medication, exercise and education Frerichs says lung diseases can be manageable and the her hope is for patients to continue at home what they learned at rehab.