Natalie breathes life into asthma drive

The face of asthma charity campaign Natalie Lussey
The face of asthma charity campaign Natalie Lussey
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A CITY student has become the face of a national campaign to provide support and advice to young people with asthma.

Natalie Lussey, 22, who is studying for a PhD at Edinburgh University, is fronting Asthma UK’s Big Up Your Chest Campaign.

Her description of her experiences battling the disease have become the first story on the campaign’s Facebook site.

The site received a high- profile backer as it launched this week when Stephen Fry, who himself suffers from asthma, tweeted a link to the page, asking his followers to pass it on. He wrote: “Please RT and Big Up Your Chest if (like me) you get asthma – [it] is a great project with lots of great information.”

Ms Lussey said she had struggled with the condition as a student. “I’ve had asthma since I was born and when I first started university everything was great but whilst I was in my final year I had a really bad asthma attack which meant that I was trekking backwards and forwards to my doctor for regular nebulisers and taking constant rounds of steroid tablets.

“It was a really frightening and depressing time – after years of being in control of my condition, suddenly my asthma was controlling me.”

Despite struggling against health problems just as she was finishing her degree, Ms Lussey managed to overcome them and get her life back on track.

She said: “With the help and support of my family and friends, and good advice from my doctor, asthma nurse and university, I managed to get through my degree.

She said: “I’m proud that after a difficult year I’ll be graduating with my Masters at the end of November, and even prouder to say that I am staying on at Edinburgh for a PhD.

“At times having asthma has made studying seem impossible, and I’ve thought about giving up on it. Although I’m still struggling, I’m so glad I haven’t; being at university is such a great experience, and although coping with the ups and downs of asthma has made it more difficult, it’s been no less rewarding.”

The Big Up Your Chest Facebook page offers information on specific topics such as going to university, going travelling, and advice on medication.

For more information, see www.facebook.com/bigup yourchest.

The charity is looking for more people to tell their story as part of the campaign – if you would like to take part, email bigupyourchest@asthma.org.uk.