Chelsea Johnson was diagnosed with asthma in the fifth grade. So when the senior at Plain Dealing High School in Plain Dealing, Louisiana, started to work on her senior project, she knew she wanted to help an asthma organization.
For her project, Chelsea decided to raise money for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). She also had to write an eight-page paper.
With the help of her English teacher, Kimberly Shelton, Chelsea searched for asthma organizations online. AAFA’s website and the great things people say about AAFA impressed her.
To raise the money, Chelsea organized a four-on-four basketball tournament. She charged $5 per team, $1 for admission and sold concessions.
She even created and sold T-shirts that said, “Together we can knock out asthma.” Word spread about the project. A former Plain Dealing High School graduate—now a soldier stationed in Korea—and his mother bought shirts.
Chelsea’s success and motivation are no surprise to her teacher.
“I’ve known Chelsea since she was a freshman so I’ve seen her grow as a person over the last four years,” said Kimberly. “She is one of the most motivated students I’ve had. She loves to help others. We were searching for an idea for her project and she asked to work on one she had herself. She knew it was something she could help others with. And it was more important to her to help others than to learn more about her disease, which was super impressive. I’m really proud of her and how she succeeded and took the lead.”
During the project, while researching AAFA, Chelsea also learned how to better manage her asthma. Information on AAFA’s site taught her how to avoid triggers. She also learned about the importance of medicine during an asthma attack.
Chelsea hopes children with asthma know that it doesn’t have to keep them from doing activities they love. In fact, she encourages kids with asthma to exercise. Her doctors encouraged her to lead an active lifestyle. She says being active, through exercise and being a cheerleader at Plain Dealing High School, helps her better manage her asthma.
Chelsea is an inspiration because of the motivation and leadership she showed with her senior project. But her example also shows others that asthma doesn’t have to hold you back, especially when you want to stay active and serve others.