In 2002 my son Sam was born. From the day he was born he wheezed. At 2 months old he had his first major respiratory infection. He continued on for the next 2 months to have what doctors told us was bronchitis, croup and bronchiolitis.
One night on the phone with the call-line nurse, she heard him breathing while he sat on my lap as I spoke. She told us to rush him to the hospital. Honestly, we had gotten so used to his breathing that it didn't alarm me anymore that he was struggling. This was our normal.
After the emergency department visit and over the course of the next several weeks, he was diagnosed with asthma and went on medication. For the first time in his life, I couldn't hear him breathing from the next room. Having a child with lung disease has changed and shaped our daily lives.
Sam is now 10. He is healthy despite his asthma and participates in several sports. Managing his asthma is a daily challenge. His quality of life is significantly impacted by environmental conditions – poor air quality, mold and tobacco smoke are major asthma triggers for him.
Luckily, we have a great school nurse and asthma doctor. However, on poor air quality days, we notice that he struggles greatly and often cannot keep up with his peers despite our best attempts at asthma management.
As I watch our country's leaders make decisions about air quality that is so often based on what is “good for business" instead of what is good for people, I want to scream “WHAT ABOUT SAM???!?!"
I Fight for Air for Sam and all the children like him who fight their own battles for air every day.