BOB Beech knows only too well the pain of losing a loved one to asthma.
Two years ago his beloved daughter Charlotte suffered a fatal asthma attack. She was just 15 years old.
Now in a bid to ensure others don’t have to go through the same loss as he has, Mr Beech is helping lead an Asthma UK campaign to improve the standards of care for asthmatics, reduce the number of asthma deaths and ultimately find a cure.
The 44-year-old, of Trevis Road, Milton, Portsmouth, said: ‘This campaign is all about getting people to take asthma more seriously.
‘The problem with asthma is that the majority of people do not realise how serious it can be. But asthma can kill – full stop.
‘My daughter had her whole life and dreams ahead of her. She was a bright, beautiful girl who brought joy to everyone who met or knew her.
‘But her life was tragically cut short because of asthma so I know how serious it is.
‘But a lot of people think it just makes you a bit wheezy and short of breath. You can’t underestimate it though because in the blink of an eye it can turn nasty.’
Mr Beech, who is an asthmatic himself, added: ‘After Charlotte’s death I wanted to do something so that no-one else has to go through what our family has.
‘That’s why I’m supporting this new campaign, to make sure no more die like Charlotte.’
As part of the campaign, Mr Beech attended an event at the House of Commons last month, organised by Asthma UK, where he told MPs about Charlotte and why more needed to be done to raise awareness about asthma.
He said: ‘I was honoured to be invited along and be able to speak to MPs about Charlotte.
‘The point of meeting with MPs was to get the government to take asthma more seriously too.
‘We would love there to be a complete review of asthma to be honest. More needs to be done to raise awareness in general, and raise awareness in schools, training nurses and teachers to know what to do if someone has an attack.
‘Basically the government needs to help give asthma a higher profile.
‘If we all work together, we could beat this.’
Mr Beech is now urging people to help support Asthma UK’s campaign by sharing their asthma stories to show the impact the condition has on people’s lives.
These stories will be used to ensure the Department of Health takes asthma seriously and make it a priority within the NHS.
To support the campaign visit asthma.org.uk.
City’s study could help to warn of attacks
ASTHMA claims three lives in the UK every day.
But health professionals say 90 per cent of deaths are preventable with better care and monitoring of patients, more education and awareness, and more research into the causes of asthma, treatments and a potential cure.
Asthma UK funds many research projects – including one currently running in Portsmouth.
The trial, which started in December last year and is being led by scientists and clinicians at the University of Portsmouth and Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, aims to create a test to predict when an asthma attack may strike.
Professor Anoop Chauhan, a consultant respiratory physician at QA who is leading the project, said: ‘We’re hoping to find out if a simple test could be developed to help predict attacks. We believe changes in the blood and urine in the days before an attack could help detect when one is likely to happen.’
Professor Chauhan is urging more asthmatics to take part in the study. Volunteers are monitored, particularly when they experience an asthma attack, and during recovery.
To take part contact Dr Jon Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org, Su Kerley at email@example.com, or call (023) 9228 6000 ext 4108.