Krystal S., NY
I fight for air because there are special moments in life that should take my breath away, but my asthma shouldn't be one of them. I was diagnosed with asthma after having pneumonia when I was in college. The pneumonia took a lot out of me, and even after I felt better, I noticed that I struggled to breathe walking up a flight of stairs or teaching an aerobics class. I went in for testing and was told I had asthma.
Since then, I have struggled with keeping my asthma well managed despite trying different inhalers and treatments. It is an absolutely terrifying feeling knowing that at any time something in the air could trigger an attack. I've had them in so many different situations: teaching an aerobics class; sitting on the couch watching TV; in a co-worker's office; at a conference in front of a large room full of people; and the list goes on.
It has been hard for me to narrow down what triggers my attacks, and that is the most challenging part about living with asthma. Not being able to catch your breath is terrifying...gasping for air until you can take a full deep breath seems like an eternity. People that don't know what to do to help panic, which then makes you panic even more.
There's currently no cure for asthma. While deaths from asthma pale in comparison to those of heart disease and many cancers, thousands of people miss work on account of this lung disease each year, and it is on the rise in children, causing many missed school days and trips to the emergency room. Fighting for Air is something I literally do way too much throughout the year, so fighting for air quality in Western New York is a no brainer.