Lesmahagow sisters walk in memory of their dad
For five years, James Joseph Black from Lesmahagow fought a silent battle against pulmonary fibrosis.
Joe worked on construction sites all his days, initially as a labourer and then as a foreman.
Aged 66, he retired nine years ago and just four years later was diagnosed with the incurable lung condition.
His chosen career had left a toll, with scarring on his lungs which made it more difficult for them to work properly.
As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, patients become progressively more short of breath – as was the case with Joe, whose symptoms became more noticeable in the last year of his life.
Sadly, on December 6 last year Joe, who was originally from Donegal in Ireland, was admitted to Wishaw General Hospital – he passed away four days later, aged 75.
He left behind his heartbroken wife Marina (73) and their three daughters June Stewart, Yvonne Black and Fiona McCubbin.
However, Joe’s girls were determined not to let his memory fade and were keen to raise awareness of the condition which ultimately claimed his life.
June (44) and Yvonne (39) walked 100 km in March to raise awareness and funds for the charity which supported them after their dad’s loss, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
With support from all the family in Lesmahagow and Donegal, as well as friends and neighbours, they walked five to eight kilometres every day in March – proudly wearing their charity t-shirts and wristbands – and raising £1400 for the charity.
Now the sisters, who are both officers with the 1st Lesmahagow Girls Brigade, want to thank everyone.
June said: “We couldn’t believe how much we managed to raise – the support we received was overwhelming.
"We never expected to raise so much and can’t thank everyone enough who put their hand in their pocket to sponsor us.
"The charity was delighted; we even became their fundraisers of the month!”
There were two reasons the girls decided to walk in memory of their dad; they wanted to get into shape but Joe also loved walking with his Patterdale Terrier Jet; the loyal pet died just six weeks after his master.
Yvonne said: “Dad used to walk everywhere with Jet. If he’d got a new pair of lungs he’d still be here as he was really fit. Sadly, it wasn’t an option – if he’d been a younger man, it might have been.
"That’s why we decided to walk but it was also a good way for June and I to get back into shape after lockdown.”
The sisters are far from idle in their day jobs though; June works as a phlebotomist at Wishaw General and Yvonne as a home carer with South Lanarkshire Council.
They followed in their mum’s footsteps as Marina was a care assistant at Sefton Park Nursing Home in Larkhall.
She and Joe celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on July 18, 2019, with a coach trip to York and the Yorkshire Dales.
Two to three times a year the couple also travelled from Lesmahagow to Donegal.
June added: “Dad was really settled here but he loved going back to see his family in Ireland too.”
If you would like to support the girls’ charity, visit www.actionpf.org.