Lyn Trethan, with daughter Amanda Burns, is in need of a new oxygen concentrator.
Lyn Trethan, with daughter Amanda Burns, is in need of a new oxygen concentrator. Alistair Birghtman

Lyn needs to breathe easier

EVERY day is a struggle for Lyn Trethan.

A few years ago, the River Heads resident was rushed off her feet when she worked two jobs.

But that must feel like a lifetime ago, because these days Ms Trethan is permanently hooked up to an oxygen machine just so she can breathe – something the rest of us take for granted.

She suffers from chronic emphysema, but is not eligible to be put on a lung transplant list.

On Wednesday, a sudden power blackout in River Heads caused Ms Trethan’s oxygen concentrator – her life support system – to fail.

Her 23-year-old daughter and full-time carer Amanda Burns was terrified when the machine stopped working.

“I was on the phone to the ambulance to see if they could bring oxygen bottles to us,” Ms Burns said.

“Jeremy (Ms Burns’ partner) was on the phone to Ergon Energy asking them what was going on.

“It’s hard for Mum when something like this happens, because when she’s not getting oxygen she panics a lot.”

The family had to hook the oxygen machine up to the cigarette lighter in a friend’s car for the three hours the electricity was switched off.

A portable oxygen concentrator Ms Trethan bought second-hand had failed after just two uses.

She is practically housebound and is only able to sit in the car if the family has to go anywhere.

“The kids say to me ‘Come down the beach while we take the kids for a swim’ and I just say ‘I can’t,’” Ms Trethan said.

“It’s taken some getting used to.”

Her daughter adds: “It depresses her because she can’t get out.”

Family friend Karena Jones is tired of seeing Ms Trethan’s constant struggle and is calling on the Fraser Coast community for help.

She wants to know if there is anyone on the Fraser Coast who has a portable oxygen concentrator that they can donate.

If not, she plans to hold a fundraiser to buy her friend a new one.

The machines start at $4500 new.

“I know they can’t afford to buy a new one but the fact she can’t go without the machine if it needed to be fixed is a catch-22,” Ms Jones said.

“Lyn said she doesn’t want to be a charity case but it’s not about that, it’s about seeing if anyone out there can help.

“She deserves a better quality of life.”

While slightly embarrassed, Ms Trethan says she is touched at Ms Jones’ kindness.

“It’s so sweet, she’s a little angel,” she said.

Anyone who can help or give Ms Jones advice about holding a fundraiser can call her on 0401 408 670 or email karena_jones81@hotmail.com.



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