Pride of Britain Awards: Devoted husband Tom McMillan in fundraising drive for wife

Few of us may recognise the term 'pulmonary fibrosis'.

It's a terminal lung condition that around 1200 people in Northern Ireland are currently living with.

One of those patients is Una McMillan.

She was diagnosed in June 2016 and, for Una, the term was familiar.

The same disease had claimed the lives of her two siblings and her mother, with Una's diagnosis coming just five months after the death of her sister.

Following her diagnosis, her husband Tom tasked himself with raising awareness of the disease, and supporting those living with it.

He helped to set up the Pulmonary Fibrosis Support Group, which acts as a network for both patients and their families.

They have raised around £90,000 through live music events, sponsored sports events and coffee mornings.

Tom has recently put some of this money towards purchasing a caravan in Ballycastle, which will be open to members of the support group for much needed respite holidays.

While fundraising is a key part of Tom's work, his aim to raise awareness is the main driving force behind the group.

By raising awareness he hopes to end the isolation that many people find themselves in on receiving a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis.

Royce Balmer recently lost his father Jim to the disease and paid tribute to the impact Tom had, and continues to have, on his families lives.

"When dad was diagnosed I think initially he was scared, mainly because he had got the diagnosis from his doctor that he was going to have two to three years with a condition that he had never heard of.

"I think dad took a lot of respite from Tom himself.

"Tom had reached out to dad and invited him to be part of the group.

"My dad wouldn't have been one for getting involved in the zoom calls but he always sat in a listened, and I know that he took a lot of comfort from hearing other people's struggles and from the advice Tom and the others were giving out."

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