For my parents, it was devastating when I was diagnosed with bronchial asthma in 1949 at age five. My worst times as a child were not being allowed to play in the snow with friends or my younger sister. I always had to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves 'in case I became unable to breathe'. No child should have to miss out the way I did. That is why I’m a supporter of Asthma UK.
For years I have arranged sales to raise money for this worthwhile organisation. Then, in the mid-nineties, I decided to include a sum of money in my will for Asthma UK to go towards their continuing support to people like me. I feel that making this declaration in my will is an important step in ensuring they can continue their vital work long into the future.
For the past six years I have been classed as a severe asthmatic. Whilst my symptoms have certainly gone up and down this past strange year, my peak flow readings have gone up significantly.
Every day I do breathing exercises, many of which I wouldn’t have known about without the information from Asthma UK. The ones that my daughter (who is a mild asthmatic) and I find useful are sitting on a chair and doing 'rowing' exercises. Expanding the chest also helps the back. Hopefully in a few weeks I shall be out of pain to enable me to get back to the jobs I love to do in the garden and greenhouse.
Thinking of The Future
My daughter is a primary school teacher. She and the rest of her school’s staff have realised that coughs and colds have not been in evidence since schools are being cleaned and disinfected better, also with an open window for the air flow. If this improved safety and cleanliness continues, along with the crucial research being funded by Asthma UK, hopefully there won't be as many children being diagnosed with asthma in the future. I was the only child in my school of 50 children with asthma. In a class of 30 children there can be more than three or four today.
We urgently need more awareness into how difficult and potentially fatal asthma can be, I wear my mask in town, smokers and fumes from traffic are not good. Waiting in a bus queue and asking a person to stop smoking because, being an asthmatic, I had stopped breathing a couple of times. It was just for a few moments but still very scary.
The public will raise cash for other conditions deemed more important, while there are so many asthmatics in the UK who wish more people understood the life-threatening implications.
I collect and donate small change - five-, ten- and twenty-pence pieces - which is how I can help in my lifetime.
I trust the gift in my will can continue this support until long after I’m gone, but if more people could do this it would make such a difference.