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Cynthia W., PA

The life of an asthmatic can be a scary one. Some days my asthma is so bad that I can't walk across the street if it's a muggy or bad-air day without having to reach for my inhaler. At all times, I carry two inhalers with me to prevent and treat attacks or to save my life during an attack. An attack could be set off without notice from the dirty air we breathe in Philadelphia. I have to be aware of the air quality on a daily basis to prevent a possibly life threatening asthma attack.

When I was younger woman, I used to go on long, peaceful walks with my husband and kids. I am no longer able to enjoy those long, peaceful walks, because my asthma gets instantly agitated by the smog in our air. I know that the air in Philadelphia plays a large role in my quality of life, because when I visit my family in rural North Carolina, where the air is noticeably cleaner, I am able to walk outside and enjoy the fresh, clean air of the mountains. I wish that our air was clean enough for me to take those long walks around our beautiful city with my loving husband. It's the simple, enjoyable things that asthma takes away from you.

I have come to appreciate the need for cleaner air that is smog and tobacco free throughout my life. If you are unaware, please take particular notice that the air you're breathing can be better, cleaner and healthier for you. Through my career and life experiences, I have seen and learned that the air we breathe matters, not just for me, but for the over one million people in Pennsylvania that suffer from asthma or COPD. It is up to us to demand higher air standards and to be aware of the consequences of our actions for our lungs and the environment.

First published: October 28, 2015

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