I have suffered from asthma since I was about 3 years old. During my childhood years from age 3 until my late teens, my asthma was pretty severe. I needed high levels of daily medication, and I would typically go through one albuterol rescue inhaler per month. My allergies and immune system left me pretty susceptible to whatever sickness was floating around, and when I got even remotely sick, my asthma attacks would dramatically increase in severity. This usually resulted in at least 1-2 emergency room visits per year from age 3-13, many times ending up admitted to the hospital for multiple days until my asthma was under control.
On top of the daily battle with minor to moderate asthma attacks, I also experienced two life threatening severe attacks. The first and most severe was an experience at home at age 13 when I woke up in the middle of the night with an attack, and within 30 seconds my airway completely closed. Luckily my parents woke up, forced the rescue inhaler medication into my lungs using mouth to mouth, and called 911.
Despite these challenges with asthma, I managed to remain a very active child that played baseball and volleyball. When I was in my early 20s my doctor had me try the new drug Advair, which has completely changed my life. My asthma is now completely under control with Advair, and I very rarely have anything more than the occasional tightening of the chest.
To try and give back and assist others suffering from lung disease, I became involved with the American Lung Association in Central Florida back in 2008, by raising money and participating in the Asthma Walk. Since that initial involvement, I have served as Chair of the Asthma Walk, Chair of the ALA Orange County Advisory Board, volunteered at numerous events, and raised over $20,000 in donations from friends, businesses and family members.
My desire has been to see that others suffering from asthma (especially children and their parents) have access to as much education as possible about the disease. I don't want anyone to ever lose their life to a severe attack because they do not know how to handle the situation. I also want to do my part to make sure research is making progress toward better treatments of asthma, as well as a possible cure. I look forward to helping the ALA with those common goals.