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Jamie B., OK

I have battled acute asthma since I was 5 years old. I am now 47. I am thankful I am alive, as I have been brought back to life 4 times now, most recently on Saturday, January 19, 2013.

For 40 years I have fought to breathe. I remember as a child my parents frequently taking me the emergency room and staying up with me many nights just hoping that I would catch my breath. Despite these long and frequent late nights, they always went to work the next day.

My Mother didn't drive, and many times I had to walk home from school not being able to breathe; I'm not sure how I made it, but I did. As I grew older, I learned to drive myself to the hospital, because I knew I had no time to waste.

The paramedics once told me that I had to lie on a stretcher, and I told them I would die if they made me do that. I learned not to rely on them, and so I now drive myself or have a family member take me to the hospital. This last instance, just a week ago, I went to 3 different hospitals and was told there was a 4 hour wait. I thought to myself, "I am dying," and knew I would be dead soon if nobody rushed me in and started shots, IV's of steroids, and the other breathing treatments I need.

By the time the doctors could see me, my airways had nearly closed. It took them three days to get me breathing normally again.

I want to do my best to raise awareness so that everyone will know just how deadly this disease is. I am fortunate to be alive after nearly dying four times. Growing up I missed out on so much in life. Sporting events, nature walks and real Christmas trees. I never could be around any type of farm animals, county fairs or hay rides, etc.... None of this has changed all these years later.

I hold a full time job, which is very hard, because people are always asking me why I shake so much. The side effects from the medicines I have to take for the rest of my life cause this. In addition to this horrible battle, I managed to raise 3 kids as a single mom while working to support them. I am not wanting sympathy. Please know that I simply want to help others with asthma. That is why I am chairing the Climb for Life event this year, which will take place on April 6, 2013 in Tulsa OK. I hope that together we can raise funds and awareness to bring help and hope to others.

First published: February 1, 2013

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