Former Coronation Street star Liz Dawn thanked doctors in Manchester when she opened a research unit for patients with lung diseases.
The actress, who played Vera Duckworth in the soap, said she owes her life to staff at Wythenshawe Hospital.
Ms Dawn was diagnosed with emphysema in 2004, but thought the symptoms were asthma until she visited the hospital.
The actress opened a new £3.4m centre, which will offer treatment and diagnostic tests for lung problems.
Ms Dawn left Coronation Street in January 2008 after her diagnosis.
'Got life back'
She praised Prof Ashley Woodcock at the centre who helped her on the road to recovery.
"I only had a third of my lungs working when I first came here," Ms Dawn said.
"I was in a bad way and I had pneumonia twice.
"Professor Woodcock - who is here today - I feel as if he saved my life because I hadn't been taking the proper medication and I've been coming in here to see him ever since.
"I feel as if my life's begun, I've got my life back."