Maghull asthma sufferer turns to Labour MP to raise awareness of

Bill Esterson and Julia Kerr

A Maghull asthma sufferer has turned to Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson to get help raising awareness of the condition.

Julia Kerr of Claremont Avenue has suffered with asthma since the age of nine.

Now 24, the former Maghull High pupil is an ambassador for Asthma UK and is working to raise awareness of the condition.

She regularly visits schools and community groups, and in June she will be heading to Parliament to speak to MPs, including local Labour MP Bill Esterson, about the condition.

Julia, who suffers from severe asthma, said: " A lot of people have family or friends who have got asthma. Many of these people don't realise how serious it can be. 

"People are dying from asthma every day. In fact three people die from asthma every day in the UK.

"Many people who have got the condition struggle on. But they should be getting checked yearly if they are adults, or every six months if they are children.

"As long as the medication is right, asthma can treated as basically as using an inhaler morning and night, just like brushing your teeth.

"People of all ages need to be made aware of asthma. You can develop asthma at any time. There's no cure for asthma. People can be symptom free, but they still must have their regular checks.

"That's why I work hard to raise awareness of this condition. So people know what asthma is, and know how to cope with it."

Julia has a unique way of demonstrating to non-asthma sufferers what it is like to have the condition.

Bill Esterson and Julia KerrShe said: "One of the most effective things I do during my talks, is to give people a straw and ask them to breath through it. That's what it feels like to have asthma. Then when you pinch the end of the straw, that's what it's like when you are having an asthma attack.

"It really brings it home to people, particularly when you explain that they can take the straw away, but I can't, I have have to live with asthma every day.

"I have had this for a long time now. I know how to cope with it. I want to show other people how to cope with it and that's why I'm going to speak to Bill Esterson and his colleagues in Parliament."

Although she can now manage the condition, Julia still has asthma attacks.

Julia said: "Just last year I suffered an attack while at the train station when I was on my way to London. But instead of letting that put me off from ever trying to get a train again, I forced myself to go through it again, but now I even go alone. You can't let it stop you doing the things you want to do.

"Having asthma has never stopped me. My parents brought me up to think that I am a child with asthma, not an asthmatic child. That way, I continue to live my life and not let asthma stop me."

Bill Esterson said Julia was an inspiration.

Bill said: "Although she suffers from asthma very badly, Julia hasn't let it ruin her life.

"And she is determined to take what she knows from her experience of having asthma and dealing with it, to teach others about the condition.

"We need experts in the NHS who know about asthma, who can spot the symptoms and know how to treat people and carry out all of the tests that are regularly needed by sufferers. I just worry that the changes happening in the NHS will mean that we won't have the expertise in the service that is needed.

"That's why Julia's work as an ambassador for Asthma UK is so valuable. Although there are three people who die every day from asthma, from speaking to Julia I have discovered that 90% of all asthma deaths are preventable.

"That's a lot of people who Julia can save by raising awareness and I will give her all the support I can to do just that."

To get further information, contact Julia at