Imagine, if you will, that it is Christmas night. You’ve had a busy day and you’re chilling in your PJs in front of the box. You feel a familiar prickle just beyond the back of your throat, but you ignore it as you really want to see the bit where Bond jumps out of that plane. You splutter a little, registering that you really are quite wheezy: maybe it was the cat you stroked at lunch today, or perhaps it is just because you’ve been working in a cold outdoor market for days beforehand. Reluctantly you get up to use your inhaler, but it seems to have no effect. This panics you, and so you wheeze some more. Repeated use of the pump starts to give you palpitations, and you can feel the passages to your lungs seizing up. More panic, until, just as 007 lands safely, you realise that you ACTUALLY CAN’T BREATHE. You try to call your husband from the other room, but even talking is hard. He comes in, takes one look, and marches you to the car. On the way to A & E he breaks every speed limit, slowing only for traffic lights, where anxiously he rubs your back to try and help get more air into your lungs. You seriously wonder if you are going to make it to hospital. At casualty they try to put a mask around your face, but you fight it off as it feels like they are cutting off what little air is getting through; but with a bit of coaxing from your husband you are soon having magical healing vapour pumped into your airways. After half an hour you can breathe on your own again, but every muscle in your body hurts from straining to catch your breath, and you start to cry…. This actually happened to Mrs. Shopkeeper. And Mr. Shopkeeper really did save her life, as that is what husbands are meant to do. She was kept in for four days (although Mr.S. broke her out for a pizza one night). She had always been a mild asthmatic, but it was well controlled, and until that night she never really gave it a second thought. That night changed everything, and she is now pretty much thankful for every breath she takes.* When late last year we heard that one of our customers had died from a particularly vicious form of latent asthma, we knew we wanted to do something to help fight this predatory condition. It was time to reassemble Team Persepolis (you’ll have to imagine the super-hero music here, and no: we’re not wearing spandex body suits). In 2011 we did the 20 mile Maggie’s Night Hike in aid of Maggies Centres. On September 14th (in just under two months in fact), we are taking up the even longer Thames Path Challenge: 50km (32 miles) along the River Thames over (hopefully) twelve hours in aid of Asthma UK. Because no-one should have to go through the sheer terror of not being able to breathe. And more importantly, asthma-related deaths just should not occur in these days of wonder-meds and advanced research. Why are we telling you this? Well, first of all we’d love you to join the team. The sense of achievement and camaraderie in doing something like this is pretty special, and there are worse ways to spend a Saturday. If you do want to join, contact us on 020 7639 8007, or by e-mail: foratasteofpersia at hotmail.com. It’s easy to sign up through the Thames Path Challenge sign-up page: you just follow the instructions for joining a pre-existing team, but you’ll need a few extra details from us first. If you’re not going to walk with us…well then obviously we expect you to sponsor us. If you can, that is. If, you know, you believe in us. Even a couple of bob will help (say we, showing our age). You can find our Just Giving page by clicking on the widget below… *Incidentally, for the last ten years she has been doing Kundalini yoga, which is all about breathing and control, and which she reckons is why she now uses her emergency inhaler but once in a blue moon.