Chicago Area Native Spotlights Asthma That Took Sister’s Life at 14 Years Old

To participate in Lung Association’s fundraiser, will walk with son suffering from asthma

Edith Henderson lost her baby sister, Jonell, at just 14 years old due to an asthma attack at school. Her son, Gavin, also suffers from severe asthma and her niece, Sophia, has the lung disease as well. To honor her sister and support her son and niece, she will participate in the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago’s LUNG FORCE Walk, presented by Northwestern Medicine, at Cantigny Park on October 16, 2022. 

“My baby sister’s death is something my family has never gotten over. I like to continue to be involved and do more because asthma still affects my son,” said Henderson.

Jonell’s asthma condition started as a young child in the 1990’s. At that time, there was not a lot of medicine and community support for asthma patients. Jonell used a nebulizer to treat her asthma. In October 2000, she was at school one day when she suffered an asthma attack. Her school could not locate Jonell’s inhaler; therefore, she went without oxygen. She passed away at the age of 14. Jonell would’ve turned 36 years old on September 1, 2022.

Gavin was diagnosed with asthma at 2 years old. Now age 14, Gavin’s asthma condition has improved tremendously with treatments including a monthly shot and maintenance and rescue inhalers.

“I became more educated about asthma by referring to the American Lung Association’s resources and that helped me get my son to that point where he is doing a lot of better. He is now doing activities that kids his age do,” said Henderson.

This is the first year that Henderson is participating in the Chicagoland Walk. She will walk with Gavin and her three other children, as well as her uncle. Henderson’s fundraising goal is $1,000.

“I’m thankful that through the money raised from this event, the American Lung Association provides lifesaving education for people living with asthma like my son, Gavin,” Henderson concluded.

Henderson will walk with hundreds of people from across the greater Chicago area who will also raise awareness and funding to help nearly 1.5 million people in Illinois living with chronic lung disease, including children currently with asthma. For those who can’t attend the event, the Lung Association is also offering a Walk Your Way virtual option. To find out more, and to register, visit

Learn more about the Lung Association’s asthma education resources here.

For more information, contact:

Dana Kauffman
[email protected]

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