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Stories from July, 2015


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Cyclotopia: an Olympic Success

  • logo“A fun packed day full of amazing people…Great atmosphere.”
  • “It was a great exciting experience. Thank you.”
  • “Lots of fun activities, very well organised, great value for money.”
  • “It’s a great place to cycle and fun for children.”
  • “It was the best day of the year so far” – Oliver, aged 8

These were just a few comments from cyclists who attended our new charity event; Cyclotopia.

Cyclotopia was held at the QE Olympic Park VeloPark at Lee Valley on Sunday 14th June 2015.  Over 200 fundraisers and supporters turned up to support all four UCLH Charities.  Cyclists were of all ages and all abilities.

Families loved the choice of road circuit and mountain trail, with many having the opportunity to try both.  Hard core cyclists zoomed around the fast road circuit with wind in their hair, while families trailed behind with smiles on their faces, waving each time they completed another one mile circuit.

There was a special buzz at the Velodrome.  Two sessions were available with a qualified trainer.  Fears of the brakeless, clip-on bikes were quickly quashed by the skilled trainer, and all cyclists were cheered on heartily by our ‘rent-a-crowd’ supporters for the Velodromers’ timed sprint finales.  Most have vowed to come back next year to beat their ‘PB’.  Watch out Bradley!

We are so grateful to the staff and volunteers at the VeloPark who worked tirelessly throughout.  An important thank you goes to our sponsors, Cycle Republic.  A special thanks goes to our charity volunteers, without whose help this event could not have taken place.  We are indebted to you all.

Over £11K has been raised so far for this event which is pretty good for a first event, and we hope to build on this next year and make this event bigger and better.

Most of those who attended confirmed they would recommend this charity event to a friend.  Are you ready for a buzz …

??????????????? ??????????????? Volunteers Mum and Dad

Summer Newsletter: Hay Fever Quiz Answers



1.       What is the formal term for hay fever?

Answer: Seasonal allergic rhinitis


2.       Can you have hay fever in the winter?

Answer: Yes – Hay fever is usually caused by pollen in late summer/early autumn.  But experts say that warmer winters mean that the pollen season is lasting longer.


3.       If you have hay fever, what food might you be allergic to?

Answer: Raw fruit and vegetables, eg. apples. Some people who have seasonal allergies also get hives or itchiness in their mouths when eating raw fruit or veg.  Certain proteins in these foods are very similar to the pones found in pollen.  Cooking usually changes these proteins and makes these foods sage to eat.


4.       Will your child have hay fever too?

Answer: Not necessarily, although allergies are often hereditary and a child of a parent with an allergy will be more susceptible.


5.       What’s the best way to keep a child from developing an allergy?

Answer: Expose your child to as much bacteria as possible and let them get dirty, and they will be less likely to develop an allergy in later life.

Summer 2015 Newsletter


For the Summer 2015 Newsletter, please click here




Prudential Professor

Jerry Brown cyclingOur very own Professor Jerry Brown is cycling the Prudential 100 on 2nd August 2015. The Prudential 100 is a 100 mile ride from London out into Surrey then back into London going up the infamous Box Hill, roughly following the route used for the road race in the 2012 Olympics. Prof hopes to do this in about six and a half hours, but says, “I have never ridden such a distance before so this will be a real challenge.“.

Prof says he would be happy to raise £500 for his Breathing Matters research projects, but we think he can do even better than that!

It’s been very hot training over the past few weeks.  Some of you may have seen Prof practising his skills at the Velodrome at Cyclotopia – some of us were quite impressed, but don’t tell him that!

Money raised will help find better ways of treating bronchiectasis. Bronchiectasis is a disease that causes chronic lung infection that affects about 100,000 people in the UK of all ages, but is scandalously under-researched. Hence we really don’t know much about how the disease develops or the best way to treat sufferers to prevent them from feeling ill all the time and to stop them developing progressive disease that eventually causes death, a situation that researchers at University College London are tackling with Breathing Matters support.  The money raised will be used to purchase vital laboratory equipment required for analysing samples from patients with bronchiectasis, and so allow us to learn more about the disease and identify new treatments.

It’s a cliche, but please do dig deep to help Prof carry out vital research into bronchiectasis!

You can donate via his Justgiving Page –

Get out of Breath for #Breathtember


Tweet Tweet!

 Get out of Breath for #Breathtember

To help raise awareness, we would ask that supporters tweet different challenges each day in September including the term ‘#Breathtember’ and to ask their followers to retweet and share this information as widely as possible.

Think outside the box for your challenges – getting out of breath could mean:

  • Completing a 5K run or walk
  • Cycling from London to Brighton
  • Walking over the wonderous London bridges
  • Doing a musical 10K run, eg Run to the Beat 10K
  • Getting dirty at a muddy challenge; everyone’s doing it
  • Scaling a mountain
  • Skydiving
  • Or just simply walking up the stairs!

The important thing is that you tweet your challenge every day including the term ‘#Breathtember’ to raise awareness of pulmonary fibrosis.  This September, we want as many people as possible to see the term ‘#Breathtember’.  To make the biggest impact, the aim is to get the term ‘#Breathtember’ to trend.

Follow us on twitter @breathingmatter for further details.



London’s hay fever rate worst in the UK

Hay Fever in British IslesLondon has suffered the worst hay fever outbreak in the country for the last two years, a survey of GPs revealed today.

Asthma rates were also the highest nationally last week as the soaring heat and pollen count caused misery for sufferers, many of whom are affected by both conditions.

The Royal College of GPs weekly respiratory disease report said there were 107.8 cases of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, reported to GPs in London for every 100,000 people.  This was down from the previous week, when a rate of 137.6 was the highest in the country this year, but still well above the national average of 78.4.

Across the country, problems were said to be most acute in children aged 5 to 14 – with cases more than double the national average – and people aged 15 to 25.

Asthma levels in London increased from 11.4 to 14.9 per 100,000 over the last two weeks of June, against a nationwide drop to an average of 11.5.

The College of GPs said hay fever rates are ‘levelling off, so we hope the worst is over’. But breathing problems are due to continue over the weekend, with ‘very high’ pollen levels forecast in the capital until Tuesday.

Temperatures will hit 28oC tomorrow and 25oC on Sunday, but fall slightly next week with showers forecast for Tuesday.

Take care over the weekend.  Have a look at our hay fever guidelines to give you some tips on coping:

[Taken from The Metro 3.7.15]



Hay fever: it gets right up your nose!

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is an allergy to pollen. The pollen season separates into three main sections:

  1. Tree pollen – late March to mid-May.
  2. Grass pollen – mid-May to July.
  3. Weed pollen – end of June to September

To get the latest pollen forecast, view the Met Office weather map which provides a UK forecast of the pollen count and provides any hay fever sufferers with an early warning.

Who Gets Hay Fever?

Hay fever is very common. It affects about 2 in 10 people in the UK. It often first develops in school-age children and during the teenage years, but may start even later in life. Hay fever tends to run in families. You are also more likely to develop hay fever if you already have asthma or eczema. A tendency to these atopic illnesses can run in families.

Hay Fever Symptoms

  • Common symptoms include sneezing, runny or blocked nose, itchy eyes, mouth and throat. Less common are headaches and hives.
  • Asthma symptoms – such as wheeze and breathlessness, may get worse if you already have asthma. Some people have asthma symptoms only during the hay fever season.
  • The symptoms may be so bad in some people that they can affect sleep, interfere with school and examinations, or interfere with work.

Hay Fever Prevention

Although it is very difficult to avoid exposure to pollen, there are a number of measures you can take that will help you to minimise exposure and ease the severity of your hay fever symptoms. Following these steps may help provide some relief from your symptoms:

  • Keep windows closed when at home and overnight. Most pollen is released in the early morning and falls to ground level in the evenings when the air cools.
  • When outdoors, wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. For any outdoor tasks, such as gardening, hay fever sufferers should wear a mask.
  • Avoid drying clothes outside when pollen counts are high. If you do, shake items before bringing them inside.
  • Keep car windows closed when driving and fit a pollen filter to reduce the impact of pollen spores.
  • When indoors: vacuum regularly, avoid bringing fresh flowers indoors, and be aware that pets can bring pollen in on their fur.
  • Don’t allow smoking in the house as this will irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways, making your hay fever symptoms worse.
  • After being outside, shower and wash your hair to remove pollen.

Hay fever sufferers can benefit from a wide range of medication which can be prescribed by your GP, or alternatively purchased over the counter from your local pharmacy.

Your GP or hospital consultant can help you find the most appropriate treatment for you especially if you also have asthma and other allergies. Treatments include antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays, corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops, nasal decongestants, eye drops, immunotherapy, and alternative therapies.

Treatment for Severe Symptoms

Rarely, a short course of steroid tablets is prescribed for a week or so. For example, for students sitting examinations,   A short course is usually safe.   However, you should not take steroid tablets for long periods to treat hay fever, as serious side-effects may develop.