A few years ago I had a good friend on Facebook. She appeared to be a nice, soft-
spoken written young lady from the UK. After a month or so of trading stories and new baby pictures I found out she had asthma. A sadder part of the story was that she got her asthma after a particularly nasty bout with pneumonia. Though she never complained, you could see the asthma’s limitations on her daily, active life. It made me think. Somehow, her having asthma made me run harder.
Later that same year, I ran in a local 5K, ironically sponsored by the American Lung Association (ALA). Not only was I running in the event, I was also doing a race summary article for the local running club. In interviewing the winners and some other participants, I talked with a young lady that was the third place female finisher in the race. This young collegiate runner also had asthma. It had hindered her running career. In fact, she collapsed at the finish line shortly after completing the race. She told me she had picked up asthma after her father had quit smoking a few years back.
At that same race I met and interviewed some of the ladies running our local chapter of the ALA. They gave me some story lines. Then they invited me to be on the Leadership Board for the ALA to help promote a new event they were planning, the Fight For Air Stair Climb. Given my recent new awareness to asthma as well as my appreciation for my own good health I signed on immediately.
You see I do try to stay physically active and have been for many, many years. Like many of you fit and active runners, bikers, and lifters, without clean air in our lungs and efficient lungs to utilize the oxygen where would we be at?
Me? Clean lungs are a big deal to me. Without the use of healthy lungs I would have missed out on many great moments in my life. I never would have won that race in Stone Harbor in 1976. I never would have enjoyed going on the many bike rides years ago. I never would have enjoyed the honors or joy in my running and track successes. And I never would have had the strength or energy to rehabilitate my bad shoulder. In fact, I’d probably be a 200 pound couch potato! Without the efficient handling of oxygen to my lungs and then in my blood I would have been finished a long time ago!
I don’t want to lose you with statistics so I just want to leave you with a few areas that the Lung Association helps.
1) Lung Cancer: This past year we lost a college football legend, Joe Paterno. For close to 50 years he was a competitor. He coached elite athletes at a high level in college football. In late October he ran onto the football field and his team won his 412th game as a head college football coach, more than any one else in his sport. In mid November we were told he had an “operable” form of lung cancer. In mid January, just 2 months later, he passed away, falling victim to the very aggressive lung cancer.
2) Air Quality: Most of you that are runners probably run outside along the streets and roads mapped out for a good run. Did you know that the air you breathe along the roads is actually bad for you? Air with car exhaust in it can burn your lungs, much a like sunburn from the inside. In fact, most major cities don’t have a great quality of air for anyone; runner, worker, Mom, or child. Here’s a link to test the air quality in the air where you live.
3) Asthma: Did you know asthma is the leading reason kids miss school and actually be hospitalized? Its true. More kids miss school from dealing with their asthma than any other reason.
Our local ALA sponsors a summer kids camp every year, Camp Puff and Stuff. With some of the proceeds from our annual events the ALA puts on a week long summer camp teaching young kids how to deal with their asthma. And it works!
Rebecca Downs, a director at our local Lung Association, told me about a victory from this year’s camp when I asked her if she could elaborate on what the camp does.
Rebecca told me, “I do have a good story from this year’s camp. A school nurse shared with us that one particular child used to visit her room 2 or 3 times a week due to his asthma the year before he attended camp. The child attended camp last summer, and he only visited the nursing room 2 to 3 times the whole year last year!”
Kids with asthma have a hard time, playing baseball, enjoying a Zumba class, or running half as far; at least in a comfortable manner.
I am helping to organize and also participate in this year’s Fight For Air Stair Climb, being held on Saturday July 28th. It is a big deal to me based on my past experiences and these recent successes. We are trying to raise money for the local Camp Puff and Stuff, as well as research and care for lung cancer patients, and national clean air and non smoking initiatives.
If you are inclined to help charities I would welcome any support. Any good will donation would be very appreciated and, as I mentioned earlier, actually gets results. Any amount, large or small, goes to helping people breathe easier and lead healthier lives, something we take for granted. In fact, I will send anyone donating $20.00 or more one of our event’s silky red t-shirts (they really feel great!) with a big “Thank- you”!
If I remember right today is supposed to be my old FB friend’s birthday (although she won’t be jumping for joy) as we here in the states celebrate our national birthday as well. I hope you had a festive day and week! Later this week, when you are running or biking, swimming or lifting and you are breathing hard trying to catch your breath. Thank your lungs! Without the efficient healthy digesting of oxygen you might just be an uncomfortable spectator.
If you are interested in supporting my healthy air initiatives please click on the link below. This link takes you to my web page for the Lung Association. Each bank draft is safe and tax deductible. More importantly, they can actually help to save lives!
Thank you for your consideration and support! Take a deep breath. Doesn’t that feel good?