Grass pollen allergies and asthma

I’m finding it hard to breathe. My heart is racing, and there’s a fluttery feeling in my stomach. My skin prickles, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through this. It’s panic, no other word for it.

And the reason? I just received an email containing this sentence:

Thank you for registering to run in the 2014 Royal Parks Half Marathon for Asthma UK. We will be in touch over the next week to welcome you onto the team.

My daughter has asthma. She’s had it from birth, in a viral form, but this summer saw her flaring up with symptoms during the pollen season, for the first time. I won’t lie, it’s been scary. For the last 8 years we’ve learned how to predict her asthma, varying medication in line with her seasonal coughs and colds. But this summer we’ve been at sea again – her symptoms seemed sudden and random, we couldn’t see any tangible pattern, and we weren’t sure what meds to use when.

It’s this fear of asthma that made me decide that Asthma UK would be my main charity going forward. I wrote recently about their campaign to change the law so that schools could carry an emergency Ventolin inhaler in their first aid boxes, and I’m pleased to say that our voices made an impact. From 1 October schools can be prepared for an unexpected asthma attack in the classroom.

I’ve always felt drawn to support Cancer Research. Don’t we all? Aren’t we all in some way affected by cancer? It is massive. But support for Cancer Research is also huge; research into asthma is hugely underfunded, but it is so important to understand more about a condition that impacts on so many lives. Here’s why:

  • Every 10 seconds someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack
  • Asthma kills a classroom of children every year in the UK
  • Every day, 84 children are admitted to hospital for emergency treatment due to asthma.

Last March, I ran 10k for Sport Relief. I wrote about how terrible I was at running, how I didn’t have the physique, or the physiological requirements to manage more than a mile or two of panting, vomit inducing legwork. When I hit the start line at the Olympic Stadium with fellow blogger Penny, I knew I would get round the course, but I really thought I’d be walking the second half and getting home in time for tea. In the event, I was done in just over an hour, and I ran every step of the way. And went to a party afterwards!

Gradually, over the next few weeks, I began to wonder if I could do more; if the bug that had gripped me could fuel twice as much achievement. Could I run a half marathon? And so I’m doing it. I’m going to run 13 miles to raise money for more research into asthma. So that we don’t have to live in fear any more; so that families don’t have to lose their children to this condition.

Can you sponsor me?

I have to raise a minimum of £350 to be allowed to take part, so see if I can run further than I’ve even ever walked in my life. Can you help me? I need donations – just click the Sponsor me button below. If you can’t donate, thats fine but it would really help me if you share this post, or my Just Giving page, so that others can egg me on to the finish line, in both senses of the words.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

If you have a child with asthma you can download an action plan from Asthma UK now. Tell your friends and networks about it. It’s essential that parents have one to help them understand their child’s symptoms, how to use an inhaler properly, how to know if their child’s asthma is getting worse, and what to do about it. Without one, people are four times more likely to end up in hospital. 

I think I can do this. It may take me all day, but I’m going to try to run the whole thing. I think I might be able to. So maybe it’s not panic, but excitement that has my heart hammering..?

If you’d like to join me in fundraising for asthma research, you can find out more about their events on their page. Here’s the Royal Parks half marathon that I’m doing in October. I’d love a running mate!


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