Every 10 seconds, someone is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK and every day, three of those people will die. There are 5.4 million people living with asthma in the UK, and around a quarter of a million people have severe asthma, meaning that even climbing the stairs can feel like a marathon.
The long-term mission of charity Asthma UK is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. One of the ways they do this is by providing expert advice and support through their confidential Asthma UK Helpline, a service that has been supported by your micro-donations.
From October 2016 to September 2017, customers at Rontec petrol forecourt stores up and down the country chose to add a few digital pennies to their bills in aid of two main charity partners: Diabetes UK and Asthma UK.
To date, more than £100,000 has been raised in support of Asthma UK through Pennies, helping fund services like the UK’s only specialist asthma helpline.
A team of specialist asthma nurses answer around 7,000 calls to the helpline each year. They could be from people who are newly diagnosed and confused about what it means. They could be the parent of a child who needs support speaking to their child’s school about asthma. Or the carer of someone with severe asthma who needs advice on medicines.
Some calls are emergencies too – and the advice nurses provide is literally life-saving. Between October 2015 and July 2017, 378 callers were told by one of the specialist nurses to call an ambulance or go to A&E because they were having an asthma attack.
“My role is to make sure everyone that contacts the nurses whether through email, phone or social media are given evidence-based advice and support that mirrors the asthma guidelines. I’m proud of our Helpline because we help everyone in one way or another to manage their asthma better. Asthma changes throughout a lifetime and living symptom-free can be a challenge for anyone. We are here to help.”
Sonia Munde, Head of Asthma UK Helpline & Clinical Nurse Manager
It costs the charity around £24 to answer every call, and your generous contributions at Rontec’s roadside retail sites have supported the charity in providing help and advice to thousands of callers.
Asthma UK’s recent feedback results show the high level of appreciation of the service – 97 per cent of callers would recommend it to others and 96 per cent felt they could manage their asthma better after talking to the helpline team. But, without your support, those nurses wouldn’t be there for the people that need them. So, thank you.
“At my wit’s end, I phoned the Asthma UK helpline. The Asthma UK nurses were my saviours. They gave me the support I needed and helped me to feel so much more informed about my particular type of asthma, when nobody else understood what I was going through. They gave me the courage and the knowledge I needed to go back to my GP and fight to be given steroids, which helped me through that bout of illness.”
Asthma UK Helpline caller
The Asthma UK Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on 0300 222 5800. To find out more about the work of Asthma UK, visit www.asthma.org.uk