Asthma UK Lifeline


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Asthma UK

Chris Tarrant presents an appeal on behalf of Asthma UK, a charity which supports millions of people with asthma in the UK, and which funds research to help find a cure.


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From the moment we're born we instinctively want to breathe,

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it's natural, it's what keeps us alive.

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But some people can't even take that for granted.

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I know about this because I'm asthmatic.

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When I had an attack

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it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.

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I got very frightened.

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I was on a crowded street and I started to panic,

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and that's the worst thing you can do.

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Now, actually it's fine now. It's controlled by medicine

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and as long as I do what the doctors tell me, it's not a problem.

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But nearly 5½ million people suffer from asthma in the UK alone.

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And 250,000 have severe asthma,

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like 33-year-old Stacian.

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From the age of six I really loved dancing, I really loved it.

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When I was diagnosed, that's when everything stopped.

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Aged 10, asthma changed Stacian's life completely.

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I wasn't allowed to play out with the kids any more, like sports.

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I had to limit everything I was doing.

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It was really frustrating as a child, I just keep saying

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"I want to be normal. Why can't I run like my brothers and sisters?"

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Stacian's family had no choice but to restrict her,

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as even limited exercise led to attacks.

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Everything was affecting me, hay fever, strong-smelling chemicals,

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I was having hospital admissions three, four times a week.

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SHE BREATHES WITH DIFFICULTY

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Two years ago, her attacks had become so serious that her

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consultant felt it was time to break some very difficult news.

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I was told that the hospital couldn't do anything for me

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and I was going to die.

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Any minute your next attack will definitely kill you.

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At that point I was thinking of my dad,

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he died at the age of 26 of asthma.

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I start having flashbacks of when my dad used to lift me

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and play games with me, and I could hear him wheezing and struggling,

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and then I just started breaking down.

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I did not want to die because I haven't even enjoyed my life.

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For some people asthma can be a real burden.

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That's why I'm appealing on behalf of Asthma UK,

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a leading charity

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that funds ground-breaking research hoping to find a cure,

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but also helps sufferers, on a daily basis, handle their condition.

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Now this work is absolutely vital

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because every single day in the UK alone, three people die from asthma.

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This is Annette, her daughter Sophie was diagnosed with asthma

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when she was a young child, but with medication she coped fine.

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Always had lots of friends knocking on the door

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for her, loved to play out. She...

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she just lived life to the full.

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But when the family moved to a more rural area, everything changed.

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Sophie deteriorated quite rapidly,

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She was going to the hospital a lot more.

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It was just so hard to see her struggling for air in some ways,

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and struggling to breathe.

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I can't believe how much pain or anything that she must have been in,

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but she would never

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tell us. She always said, "I'm OK."

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Sophie's attacks were landing her in hospital much more frequently,

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but nothing could have prepared the family for what would happen next.

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Aged nine, Sophie had her final asthma attack.

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It was sudden and all attempts to revive her failed.

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We never

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in a million years thought

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she would ever die from the asthma,

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and certainly not

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at nine years of age.

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We would have hoped that

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if she was, it would have took her

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a lot later on in life

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rather than so young.

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Nothing could ever bring back a loved one.

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But I do believe that in future it should be possible

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to save mothers like Annette

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from experiencing such a devastating loss.

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But that'll only happen if we can properly understand

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the root causes of this all too common condition.

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Thankfully, Asthma UK are funding research in laboratories

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like this, at the MRC-Asthma UK Centre,

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where scientists are dedicating themselves to unravelling

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the mysteries of asthma, and finding new and more effective treatments.

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I've been in asthma research for about 20 years,

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and whilst there's been a very slow but steady accumulation of knowledge

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during that period, I think we're at a really exciting time at the moment.

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And I think over the next ten years, people will discover

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all sorts of things about why people get asthma,

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and we'll be able to design new treatments that are life-changing

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for people with asthma.

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But you get to a point where you need another injection of money

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to be able to translate that in to new therapies,

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and that's what we really need now.

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Annette and her family had to come to terms with Sophie's death.

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But the shadow that asthma had cast over their lives hasn't moved away.

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About two years ago, our daughter Leah came in

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and there was a bit of a wheeze and it took us by surprise really.

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And all I could think of was, "Oh, no, please.

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"I hope it's just an infection or something."

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Doctors ran tests, and confirmed that Leah had asthma too.

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I was absolutely devastated thinking, "Oh, no, could it happen again?"

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Annette got in touch with Asthma UK

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and is now able to draw on their wealth of knowledge

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about how to manage Leah's condition.

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Asthma UK has really helped us over the last few months

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especially when we found their social media site through Facebook,

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which will tell you how to manage your asthma,

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if you think your asthma is not in control.

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Leah has found that really helpful,

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to explain to her that what happened to Sophie

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isn't going to happen to everybody.

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For Stacian, asthma was so debilitating

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she was making funeral arrangements in her 20s.

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But then she was thrown a lifeline.

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A new drug that researchers had been developing in the lab

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was made available to certain patients.

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Before, I couldn't do normal activities of daily living,

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but then I could walk to the bus stop,

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I could get up and I could cook.

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To me, research is really important

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because if it wasn't for research finding this new treatment, Xolair,

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I would not be here today.

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The drug Xolair isn't a cure, and doesn't work for everyone,

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but it has brought Stacian back from the brink.

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It might take years, I might never live to see it,

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but research might make a difference to someone's life

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where they don't need to go through what I'm going through today.

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250,000 people in the UK have asthma so severe

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that current treatments can't help them.

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Asthma research can give these people hope for the future

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by searching for new treatments

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that could give them a good quality of life,

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free from the fear of dying in the next attack.

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With your help, it can.

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Please go to the website...

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...where you can donate.

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If you don't have access to

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the internet then call 0800 011 011.

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And if you can't get through,

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please, please, please keep trying.

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You can also donate £10

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by texting DONATE to 70121.

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Texts cost £10 plus your

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standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to ASTHMA UK.

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Full terms and conditions can

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be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Telephone calls are free

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from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators

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will charge for these calls.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable

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to ASTHMA UK and send it to

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Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing ASTHMA UK

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on the back of the envelope.

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And if you want the charity

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to claim Gift Aid on your donation,

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please include an email

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or postal address,

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so that they can send you

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a Gift Aid form.

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Thank you.

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Who Wants to be a Millionaire? presenter Chris Tarrant presents an appeal on behalf of Asthma UK, a charity which provides vital support for the millions of people with asthma in the UK, and which funds groundbreaking research to help find a cure. Asthma UK is a charity close to Chris's heart as he has asthma himself.

The film features Stacian Gilbert, a 33-year-old Londoner whose life has been dominated by her asthma. She shares her experiences of how she lives with the constant threat of an attack ending her life, as it did her father's, but how - with the charity's help - she manages to live as full a life as possible. Her hope is that more medical research will one day find a cure.