Asthma feels like an anaconda wrapping around your chest. Every breath hurts and panic sets in.
– Kathy, Community Director for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), training for a half century (50-mile) bike ride
These words used to describe the experience with asthma paint a vivid picture. Despite these moments gasping for air and waiting for the next breath, there are those who conquer great physical challenges. Here are three of their stories.
Kathy Przywara, Community Director for AAFA
Kathy has worked for Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) and AAFA since 2005, and also manages asthma and food allergies herself. She is a familiar and comforting voice as “Kathy P” on the AAFA and KFA communities. This summer, Kathy is training so she can join her husband on a 50-mile bike ride in September.
Kathy is training to #TackleAsthma for this event. You can follow her journey on AAFA’s blog. Many of you may relate to Kathy’s experiences of feeling isolated, not being able to join her family on long bike rides due to her asthma. Kathy will be sharing her training in blog posts and on Instagram.
As Kathy trains, you can support her and let her know she’s not alone. Visit her fundraising page and donate. For every donation of $10 or more, Kathy will add your name to her AAFA shirt so you can ride along with her. Imagine a shirt filled with names, reminding Kathy of everyone who understands the challenge of asthma, cheering her on!
Kathy is not the only one working through asthma. You may know of these two athletes who also support our mission: Rashad Jennings and Bas Rutten.
Rashad Jennings, Former NFL Running Back and Winner of Dancing with the Stars
An asthma attack feels like your world is about to end. Not knowing when the next breath will come is the one of the scariest things I’ve experienced.
– Rashad Jennings, former NFL running back, winner of Dancing with the Stars and AAFA #TackleAsthma partner
Rashad’s goal was to become an NFL running back. According to the NCAA, only 1.5 percent of NCAA football athletes make it to the NFL. Imagine what those odds look like when you have asthma.
Rashad Jennings was able to overcome those odds. He was diagnosed with asthma at 9 years old. He was hospitalized for more than a week after a severe asthma attack when he was 10.
Rashad partners with AAFA to raise awareness of asthma. He has also participated in an AAFA asthma camp for children. This camp aims to teach children with asthma that they can #TackleAsthma, as Rashad did.
Bas Rutten, MMA Fighter
– Bas Rutten, MMA champion, contestant in All Stars United’s Humanitarian Award to benefit AAFA
Bas Rutten faced the challenges of asthma and eczema as a 10-year-old in Holland. But he still went on to become a champion MMA fighter. Bas is motivated to help children who may be bullied because of their asthma or eczema. Because of this, he chose to support AAFA as he competes for All Sports United’s Humanitarian Award. Athletes like Bas are competing for votes. The winner earns the title Humanitarian of the Year and receives a $10,000 donation for the charity of their choice.
You can support Bas and AAFA once a day through June 30, 2017.
Together We Can #TackleAsthma
Asthma can cause isolation and worry. But as Kathy, Rashad and Bas have shown, facing a physical challenge is possible. Remember, follow your doctor’s asthma action plan for managing your asthma and keep medicines with you as you train. Follow Kathy’s journey to stay updated on her progress and help us “fill her shirt” by making a donation.