The Ella Roberta Family Foundation was set up in Ella’s memory as a way of remembering her life, her passions and learning lessons from her sudden death due to very severe and rare asthma.
In the UK, asthma is the number one childhood illness and the foundation continues to raise awareness of the dangers of this debilitating illness. Currently in the UK three people die from asthma everyday and at least two of those deaths are avoidable. In London the picture is increasingly worrying not only does the capital record high levels of air pollution but 872 schools are in areas which breach the EU recommended levels. Asthma in London continues to increase, in a class of 30 at least 3 children will have a diagnosis of asthma. In the UK a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack.
The number of asthma deaths every year amongst children (from 1-17 years of age) in London is between 8-12 children.
Part of the difficulty with Ella’s asthma was it was increasingly difficult to control. Some of her known allergies were tree pollen, grass pollen and hayfever but others were Airborne and are still unknown.
Various inhalers and steroids was unable to control Ella’s life threatening attacks, they even occurred in her sleep. Ella would say “Mummy, we don’t sleep any more.” after being woken by another severe attack. Living with severe asthma is incredibly stressful and very frightening at times.
HOW WAS THE FOUNDATION SET UP
The idea for the Foundation came from Dr Colin Wallace a Respiratory Consulitant based at Great Ormond Street who met Ella when she was referred to him to make sure that everything possible had been tried.
Dr Wallace felt Ella’s condition was so severe and unusual that he needed to look outside the UK in order to help her. He told Ella he needed a bit of time to investigate but sadly she died before he found a solution.
Dr Wallace felt Ella’s Foundation should be set up in Lewisham as she lived and went to schoool there during her life and it was only right that the children of the borough should benefit from her legacy.
The Foundation was launched on 24 January 2014, which would have been Ella’s 10th birthday. The launch was held at her primary school, Holbeach Primary. It was attended by the school community, people in the local community, Lewisham Hospital and Ella’s family and friends.
THE FOUNDATION’S OBJECTIVES:
The objectives of the foundation were written by the consultants who were in charge of Ella’s care and Ella’s mother.
- The relief of sickness and the preservation of health among children suffering from asthma residing permanently or temporarily in South East London by the provision of facilities not normally provided by the statutory authorities, for treatment, education and recreation.
- To advance the education of the general public, in particular, but not exclusively, young people in all areas relating to asthma.
- To promote all research necessary to find the cause, cure and prevention of asthma in children and to aid and to improve the condition of those suffering from it and publish the results of such research for the benefit of the public.
- The advancement of environmental improvement through working with communities directly affected by air pollution and with local, London and national Government to improve policies to reduce air pollution affecting everyone.
THE FOUNDATION’S MISSION
The aim of the Foundation is to raise awareness of the dangers of asthma so that no child will ever have to suffer the way Ella did. Through raising awareness the foundation hopes to cut down the number of admissions to accident and emergency in Lewisham Hospital and to educate the public to know what to do if someone has an asthma attack. The Foundation will continue to give small grants to new research and good practise in asthma every year at the International Respiratory Conference at Kings College Hospital in London. The Foundation campaigns for Clean Air in London and for better diagnosis and treatment of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The Foundation hopes Ella’s tissue samples will help with a break through to discover and improve treatments for severe asthmatics