Kendyl Bell

2008 Volunteer Excellence Award Recipient

Kendyl Bell has helped prevent lung disease and promoted lung health by educating children and teens about the dangers of smoking and methods children can use to cope with their asthma. She has supported the American Lung Association of Utah by raising funds through several special events. Her varied involvement includes participation on the stair climb committee and in the annual Asthma Walk. Kendyl has also worked diligently to secure corporate sponsorship and gather auction items for the Lung Association's Gala.

In the Fall of 2006, Kendyl approached her local lung association and proposed an event called Blue Balloon Day.  Kendyl envisioned that this event it would cover three areas of concern for the American Lung Association; asthma education, preventing juvenile smoking, and the promotion of clean air. She appealed to the Utah State Parent Teachers Association and the Utah State Health Department and was able to gain the support of both organizations. Kendyl coordinated an appointment with her state governor and shared the importance Blue Balloon Day. On May 1, 2007 Governor Jon Huntsman declared it an official holiday in conjunction with World Asthma Day.

That year over 21,000 children participated in Blue Balloon Day. They received a laminated card with ideas on how to keep the air clean and an information sheet for parents to learn about asthma and ways to talk to their children about not smoking. The children signed a pledge form that stated they would take care of their lungs, avoid the use of tobacco, and do their part to keep the air clean. At the end of the day the children blew up blue balloons, and let them fly 10 to 15 feet in the air, creating a spectacular and moving visual site. Due to the success of Blue Balloon Day, the Utah PTA is helping Kendyl and the American Lung Association distribute asthma education materials to all elementary schools that request information. She has spoken to national American Lung Association staff to propose integrating this program into a national initiative.

Kendyl, who has asthma, has helped raise awareness of the American Lung Association's Asthma Programs by sharing her story with local media, leading them to run her story on television to encourage others.  She has dedicated her time and lobbied for the Clean Air Act Amendment, which imposes fines to people who smoke in cars with children under the age of five. She has spoken to numerous children and adults about the American Lung Association Asthma Programs and recruited for Open Airways and Asthma Camp. Through Kendyl's efforts her home association was able to educate more people of Utah and raise more funds for research and programs. Kendyl plans to share the mission of the American Lung Association and our dedication to asthma education, clean air, and anti-tobacco as her platform for the Miss Utah competition.