PENDLE MP Andrew Stephenson attended a reception at the Palace of Westminster to show his support for efforts to tackle the relatively unknown illness sepsis, which claims the lives of 37,000 people every year in the UK.

At the reception, he joined Julie Carman, from Kelbrook, who almost died when she contracted sepsis – also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning – in 2008 and is now a volunteer with The UK Sepsis Trust.

Julie, 59, developed severe infections twice after a cycling accident – but on both occasions hospital staff failed to give her life-saving anti-biotics quickly enough. She now campaigns to raise awareness about the illness.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs.

It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and death, especially if it is not recognised early and treated promptly.

It is the leading cause of death from infection around the world and, despite advances in modern medicine like vaccines and antibiotics acute care experts believe not enough is being done to save lives.

As a sepsis survivor, Julie realises she is lucky to be alive a nd works to raise awareness of sepsis with MPs, doctors, health professionals and the public.

Now fit and well, Julie completed the Great North Swim in June 2014, a one mile swim in Lake Windermere, raising over £500 for the UK Sepsis Trust.

The event in Parliament supported World Sepsis Day next Saturday, aiming to raise awareness of a condition that kills more people than breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer combined.

The reception was supported by the ‘Cycle for Sepsis’ campaign – teams from England and Wales cycled to Westminster, stopping at hospitals along the way to raise money and awareness of sepsis with healthcare professionals.

The event was attended by MPs and survivors as well as representatives from charities and the health profession.

Speakers included Dame Julie Mellor, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Ron Daniels, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust and Anna Coles a survivor of sepsis. Sarah Newton MP, co-chair for the new APPG on sepsis also spoke, alongside Celia Ingham Clark from NHS England and Mark Baker from NICE.

Ron Daniels, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, said, “Through strategies for early recognition and treatment, many more sepsis patients will be diagnosed and interventions delivered before severe organ dysfunction develops.”

After meeting with Mr Stephenson, Julie said: “I was delighted Andrew attended the Sepsis Reception, listened to the speakers and engaged with sepsis survivors and the families of those who had unfortunately died from sepsis."