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Anita Simmons – 1953 to 2021

The Trustees, staff and patients of NARA – The Breathing Charity were saddened at the news of the passing of Anita, especially myself, Ann Jiggle, and my husband, Mike.

Until the end of 1983, although living not too far from each other, our paths didn’t cross, but by the end of that year, through almost tragic circumstances we got to know each other.  My daughter, Kary, who was born in April 1983, suffered from a condition called Apnoea, when for no apparent reason she would stop breathing.  Despite all medical interventions there wasn’t much that could be done other than monitor her every breath 24hrs a day.  This was done via a respiration monitor that would alarm should she stop, that cost over £300, which we had to buy ourselves.

Just before Christmas, a knock came at our door where we were met by Anita and her friend.  They were collecting for a respiration monitor for her son Iain, who was in hospital after having suffered similar apnoea attacks to our daughter Kary.  He was not allowed to leave hospital for his first Christmas without one. Also, sadly, Anita had already lost two other children.

From that point, we joined forces and helped with fundraising, firstly to purchasing a machine for Iain and later to provide further machines for parents with children suffering similar medical conditions.

Eventually, the charity was registered and very soon, thanks to generous giving, had provided around 100 respiration monitors to others suffering from apnoea.

Anita had played a major role in that success, not only by helping to raise funds, but also assisting in delivering equipment and offering advice to worried parents.  Although quite private, Anita was a happy-go-lucky kind of person who thought the world of her children and was the life and soul of many fundraising events.

After about five years, we seemed to lose contact, after Anita moved from our area, but whenever we ‘bumped’ into each other, she’d always ask about the charity and I’d ask about Iain.  Over the years, we lost touch completely, until about five years ago when we met outside a local shop.  By that time, Anita said she wasn’t in the best of health and was moving to Wellingborough.  She told us that Iain had become a chef and was in Central America.

Summing up, it’s a shame that we lost touch and Anita couldn’t enjoy the fruits of her initial labours, seeing many smiling faces of the children helped in those embryonic years of the charity.

Today, her legacy lives on through the work and success of NARA – The Breathing Charity, that has given many hundreds of people a quality of life they could not have achieved with its intervention.  A charity which would have never come to fruition had Anita not knocked our door almost 40years ago.

We would like to send our condolences to all her family and friends.

Rest in peace Anita.

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