After losing their teenage daughter to asthma, a Co Down family urged people to take it seriously.
2017 asthma attack killed 16-year-old Rachel Williamson.
Since then, her family has advocated for asthma care and awareness.
On World Asthma Day, Rachel’s parents, Simon and Barbara Williamson, said they didn’t realize how dangerous her asthma was.
“Like thousands of other parents, we were unaware of the dangers of asthma, which our daughter Rachel had since childhood.
We never imagined it would kill her. They said they were shocked by her untimely death.
The family hopes raising awareness may prevent asthma-related fatalities in Northern Ireland’s 36,000 youngsters.
Losing a loved one hurts, but losing a kid hurts more. We designed an asthma awareness campaign for schools to honor Rachel.
“We believe more needs to be done to raise awareness of the seriousness of asthma, what to do in an asthma attack, and how to use an inhaler,” they stated.
Scott, Rachel’s brother, suffers asthma and now understands its seriousness.
“At Scott’s asthma review, they showed him how to use his inhaler and had him demonstrate several times to prove he understood.
“This was really beneficial and now we want other parents to be more aware of good practices as it can save lives.”
Joseph Carter, head of leading lung charity Asthma + Lung UK Northern Ireland, thanked the Williamson family for their lung illness awareness efforts.
Rachel shows that asthmatic children in Northern Ireland need better protection. “We commend parents Simon and Barbara for helping to campaign for change and more awareness of the dangers,” he said.
The organisation wants the Department of Health to create a Lung Health Strategy to ensure early diagnosis and proper assistance.
They cautioned that inaction may endanger lives.
“It’s appalling that people across NI are struggling to breathe, being rushed to hospital in emergencies, and dying avoidably from lung conditions,” Mr. Carter added.
We desperately need a Lung Health Strategy to improve care and save lives.
“With proper management, hospital admissions and life-threatening asthma attacks, which can be traumatic and even fatal, are rare.