Mum's petition launched over teenage daughter's asthma attack death gains 10,000 signatures in two days

A mother’s petition set up in memory of her daughter who died after having an asthma attack while working in a kitchen has gained thousands of signatures in just 48 hours.

Lauren Reid, 19, was rushed to hospital after suffering from an asthma attack in February last year while on shift at Glasgow restaurant Gin71.

The aspiring chef went into cardiac arrest and died a few days later at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

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Due to Lauren’s extensive brain damage, her mother, Elaine Cunningham, had to accept the tragic decision to have her daughter’s life support machine turned off.

Lauren’s death inspired Ms Cunningham to launch a petition to pass “Lauren’s Law”, a campaign she has set up to ensure emergency stocks of Salbutamol inhalers without prescription are made available in commercial kitchens.

Since sharing it across several Facebook groups, the petition, made in partnership with chefs union UniChef, has earned almost 10,000 new signatures in just two days, bringing the total number of supporters to nearly 17,500 – it will need 100,000 signatures to be debated in Parliament.

Elaine Cunningham and her daughter, Lauren picture: Elaine Cunningham

Ms Cunningham told The Scotsman: “I am so humbled by the messages, comments and above all the signatures that have made this campaign gather momentum.

"We will never know why Lauren was without her inhaler that day, she had it on her all the time.

"But we know that had there been an emergency inhaler kit in the restaurant, similar to those currently kept in schools, Lauren could well be alive today.”

Speaking about her daughter’s asthma attack, Ms Cunningham said: “The last thing I heard my daughter say was ‘mum, I am panicking’ on the other end of her colleague’s phone after they called me to tell me what was going on.

Elaine Cunningham has launched a petition to pass "Lauren's Law" in memory of her daughter who died after having an asthma attack while on shift at a restaurant in Glasgow picture: Elaine Cunningham

"It was a Friday night, and I got a taxi to the hospital thinking everything would be okay, and it was just a mild asthma attack, not that she would be dead within days.

"I want to do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else, and above all, I don’t want Lauren’s name to be forgotten.

“As a parent, you put 24/7 care into your children so, now that my baby Lauren has gone, I am putting every last bit of me into this campaign.”

Since the launch of her petition, Ms Cunningham, who also has asthma and has beaten cancer, said she has received messages from people across the UK and abroad telling her they have already started buying inhalers to keep in company first aid kits.

The petition reads: "In 2014 the Human Medicines Act was amended so that schools could keep emergency stocks of salbutamol inhalers without prescription.

"Asthma is increasing in the UK and we believe that adult sufferers of asthma working in high-risk commercial kitchens should have similar life-saving support.

"In 2020 Chef Lauren Reid tragically suffered an Asthma attack whilst at work. That day Lauren did not have her inhaler with her and days later she sadly passed away. If an Emergency Asthma kit had been on site, she may still have been with us now.

“If high-risk commercial kitchens were allowed the same rights as schools to support their employees in an emergency situation we believe that Lauren will not have died in vain.”

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