Surprise, surprise, I'm running another race! Last year, I fell in love with the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon weekend after running my first full marathon in May, 2018, and I can't resist the urge to go back for more. This year, I'll be tackling my first multi-event road race with the Skyline Chili 3-Way Challenge with Extra Cheese, where I will run the Little Kings Mile on May 3rd, the Toyota 10K and Tri State Running Company 5K on May 4th, and the Flying Pig Half Marathon on May 5th, for a grand total of 23.4 miles.
More importantly, this time around I will be fundraising for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). AAFA is a not-for-profit organization which provides educational programs and resources about living with asthma, advocates for policies addressing clinical treatment, air quality regulations, and health standards for homes and communities, and awards grants for research to understand the disease and develop better treatments.
Asthma and allergies affect 60 million people in the United States, and asthma is the #1 chronic disease among children. What is it? Asthma is a chronic lung disease which causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways. This results in symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing, and coughing. Depictions in entertainment downplay the severity of asthma, but in reality it has widespread effects on both individuals and society. Asthma limits people's ability to engage in physical activity and other daily activities. Treatments are costly and often inaccessible to minorities and those without healthcare. Every five years, the United States loses $3 billion due to missed days of work and school caused by asthma. Lastly, severe asthma attacks can be deadly.
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 12. A severe allergic reaction to formaldehyde at 16 took me from mild to severe asthma. Living with the disease has certainly impacted my life. I've lost count of the number of times my symptoms have derailed my running training plans or negatively affected my racing performance. I've had to bail on plans on hot, humid, allergy-laden summer days because I couldn't breathe outside. This past summer and fall I learned about the severity of mold exposure for asthmatics, with numerous near-trips to the ER.
However, it is never lost on me how fortunate I am to have the health that I do. Things do not always go according to plan, but I have been able to build up the strength and lung capacity to achieve some pretty big goals. Unfortunately, there are thousands of people living with asthma whose symptoms are too severe to dream of racing one mile, let alone a longer race. These are the people I will be running for in May.
My hope for this fundraising campaign is two-fold. 1. That I will increase awareness about the severity of the disease, even if only to those around me. 2. That the support to AAFA will mean that someday, children with asthma will not be limited by their asthma symptoms and will have the treatment necessary to allow them to go for and reach their biggest goals. While medical treatments have greatly advanced in recent years, there is still a lot we don't know about asthma - what causes it, how best to treat it, and how to cure it. Your support to this camapaign will go directly to research to better understand the disease and develop better treatments, as well as to increase awareness and access to treatment. Please help me reach my goal for AAFA and follow along with updates on my training en route to the Flying Pig Challenge in Cincinnati in May!
Are you participating in a local or endurance event such as a 5k, 10k, 1/2 or full marathon or bike ride? Your accomplishment can help support patients and families managing asthma and allergic disease. By creating a fundraising page you can raise money to support AAFA while training and participating in the event. We can provide you with a t-shirt or help set up a fundraising page - just contact Brenda Silvia-Torma at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 466-7643 ext. 256 to request more information or support.