Asthma awarenss campaign in memory of St Albans teenager

FIVE years after the sudden death of a young man from a severe asthma attack, the trust set up in his name wants to reach even more schools to push forward its message about the condition.

Alex Curtis, a pupil at Nicholas Breakspear School in Colney Heath Lane, St Albans, died in February 2007 at the age of 17 after suffering an acute attack.

Later that year his father Peter set up the Alex Curtis Trust to promote awareness and good management of asthma in young people.

In the past four years, the trust has managed to make presentations to 40 schools in Herts but it still has a long way to go and wants to do the same in the other 450.

Alex had been diagnosed with asthma and eczema when he was around eight months old and although he was frequently admitted to hospital in his early years, by the time he became a teenager it was well controlled.

A talented performer, Alex was a keen singer and dancer who performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall with his school on a number of occasions. He was also a member of the St Albans-based drama group Theatrix and appeared in numerous school productions as well..

His sudden death devastated his family and friends who set up the Alex Curtis Memorial Trust because they wanted his name to live on in a way he would want – by promoting asthma and allergy awareness in schools.

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Peter said this week that it was important that the work of the trust should be heard in as many schools as possible to combat ignorance and complacency among young people whether they were sufferers or not.

He explained: “To sufferers our message is to possibly increase and reinforce any understanding they may have about asthma and allergies especially about the importance of compliance and to non-sufferers to provide them with some understanding of asthma and allergies in order that they can support their peers with these conditions.

“Such education has been shown to reduce the stigma attached to asthma and to improve compliance. I am passionate that no other child should lose their life to asthma.”

Describing asthma as a very underrated condition which was not taken seriously enough, he maintained that the best way to get the message through to young people was through schools and added: “It is also vital that staff are made aware of the potential dangers of asthma and have some understanding about the condition and how to recognise and treat asthma emergencies. The trust can provide this education through the talks and the informative leaflets that we give out at the talks.

The trust is always looking for more volunteers and anyone who can help or who wants to find out more about its work should see