“Winter is the hardest time of year! It constricts my breathing a bit. I feel chest tightness and I am not able to breathe outside as well as if it was summer or spring,” shared Shreaya Madireddy.
Many people with asthma can relate to this.
Shreaya is a senior in high school near Dayton, Ohio – one of AAFA’s top Asthma Capitals™. She has asthma, eczema, and multiple food, animal, and environmental allergies.
Her allergies, asthma, and eczema all affect one another. Her asthma is also triggered when she gets sick and when the weather changes. So, the combination of the winter weather and spread of respiratory illnesses is particularly challenging.
Despite taking her controller medicines daily and avoiding her asthma triggers, she still gets sick, and asthma attacks and allergic reactions still happen.
“I can only remember two family reunions in which I was not coughing, wheezing, or blowing through two tissue boxes in just one day,” shared Shreaya about her family’s yearly Christmas reunion. “Being bedridden and alone with nebulizer treatments in your bedroom, while you hear your whole family laughing about card games or the dogs, can make for a very depressing and lonely atmosphere on the holidays.”
You would never know this by looking at all the activities on Shreaya’s college applications. She coaches youth volleyball and volunteers at local nursing homes through the Key Club. She volunteers with Be the Match to help set up bone marrow registration drives. And she uses her voice to make a difference for people with allergies and asthma as a Community Ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
AAFA Community Ambassadors are people with asthma and allergies and caregivers who support our mission to save lives and reduce the burden of these conditions. Each Community Ambassador draws on their personal experiences to help AAFA in various ways, such as by spreading awareness, advocating, participating in our online communities, raising funds, and more.
AAFA is dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma and allergies through support, advocacy, education, and research. Through a gift to AAFA, you help us continue to provide life-saving programs and life-changing improvements to treatments and policies to help families for years to come.
This year, Shreaya shared her story to help advance laws and research to help improve the lives of people with asthma and allergies.
She has had an interest in helping people with asthma since a young age and has some great role models to look up to. Her mother, Naga Madireddy, is an internal medicine doctor, and her sister is currently in medical school.
Her friends and family are a big help with managing her asthma or allergies.
“My friends and family help me by being considerate about their pets and the food they eat when I am around them,” shared Shreaya.
Soon Shreaya will be making new friends as she heads off to college. She is applying to college with an eye on microbiology and biomedical science programs. She wants to become an allergist/immunologist.
Once Shreaya receives college acceptance letters, she plans to rank the colleges to help make a decision. One factor will be the school’s dining program and how prepared they are to manage her food allergies.
“Some cafeterias are getting very good at making lots of good options,” shared Shreaya. “I’m going to look into that after I get accepted.”
While she doesn’t know where she is going to college yet, she does know her inhaler, nebulizer, and epinephrine auto-injectors will be going with her. And we are sure Shreaya will continue to raise awareness about asthma and allergies on her college campus.
Like Shreaya, you can help AAFA improve the lives of people living with asthma and allergies. Your donation funds efforts like our Community Ambassador program that helps us further research and advocacy. It also helps AAFA continue to offer life-saving support, advocacy, research, and education. Every gift makes a difference.