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A crusade which has taken over 12 years has this week scored a landmark victory. Campaigners from the George Coller Memorial Fund were celebrating as the Governement announced that come October 1st 2014, all schools will have to keep a blue ‘reliever’ inhaler on site in emergency asthma kits that can be used in the event that a child has an attack.
Official asthma attack policy will also be in place so that staff have an understanding of how to support children with asthma. The move will save thousands of lives each year as 90% of asthma deaths have been classes as avoidable.
The George Coller Memorial Fund, from Great Barr, have been fighting the Government for this since the charity’s inception in 1999. In 2003, they received the full backing and support of the Great Barr Observer and the Sutton Coldfield Observer after the launch of an Asthma Aid campaign to raise awareness of the condition and to help raise the vital funds needed to achieve the charity’s mission.
This week, the George Coller Memorial Fund’s founder, Kim Douglas BEM, who set up the charity in tribute to her son who died from asthma aged three, said she was thrilled to hear the news.
“I’m absolutely delighted and I’m walking around with a huge smile on my face. This has taken a lot of work from us and from the whole community and we’re so pleased. I remember in the early days I was having a meeting and I said, “Why can’t the schools have emergency asthma kits on site?” and someone in that meeting explained that it would never happen, and there were too many hoops to jump through. So I just said, “How can we jump through those hoops?” Now we are getting the results we wanted. This is going to happen all across the UK and it started here in Great Barr. It’s going to help so many children and it will save lives”, she said.
The campaigners have been working hard to get this result for a long time, over 12 years, but the real springboard for the campaign to reach new heights, and eventually great success was in 2010, when they managed to present a petition of more than 5,000 signatures to Downing Street, calling for emergency inhalers to be placed in all schools.
The charity is now working with the Education for Health to ensure every school has access to correct and up-to-date information about the condition in order to implement the new measures.
“George would have been 21 this year and so I wanted to make this year count- and we have. This is going to save so many lives and it’s all just down to common sense”, Kim added.