Deb Burch

When my twin sister Vidyamala - the co-founder of Breathworks - was 16, she started experiencing bad back pain. It was absolutely heartbreaking watching her suffer through major surgeries, a car accident, myriad medical and alternative interventions, a year in bed and a steady disillusionment of the image she'd naturally held about her future.

The only good thing that came out of all this horror was that she learned to meditate. Then she learned mindfulness alongside her committed Buddhist practice and her relationship with her pain and all the attendant difficult states started to turn around.

It was sad that she couldn't even have a go at being the vet, mountain climber or forest ranger she'd variously planned on being. But she's transformed her life and those of thousands of fellow sufferers so remarkably that it's clear her heart lies in mindfulness rather than cats, crampons or woodland.

Vidyamala set up a charity, The Breathworks Foundation, as she recognises that it is very often the people who are most in need of mindfulness and compassion training who are the least able to pay for and access it. I deeply support her work and The Breathworks Foundation and want to help them raise funds to award scholarships and bursaries to people experiencing financial hardship. This means they are able to attend Breathworks courses and Teacher Training to learn vital life-changing skills.

The Foundation also undertakes invaluable research work continually developing the already impressive evidence-base showing how effective Breathworks programmes are for people like my sister, living with pain, illness and stress.

Deb Burch