This has certainly not been a typical week for me. I was acutely aware of that fact Wednesday morning when I found myself sitting in the Rayburn House Office Building – which is where members of the House of Representatives conduct business. I was among more than 100 people ranging from business leaders, to top physicians, to ordinary citizens like me listening to a Congressional meeting in which medical experts, government officials, and one particularly courageous parent addressed the issue of the day: asthma care in the US.
Hearing from leading experts such as Dr. Judy Qualters, Director for CDC, and Dr. Michael Foggs, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, provided a wealth of valuable information and insights—and it was certainly a privilege. But what will stick with me forever was hearing from a mother who, tragically, lost a young child to asthma. I could not help but admire the courage it took to speak candidly on such an incredibly sensitive topic.
For the past five years I have worked with an advocacy group named Allergy & Asthma Network Mother’s of Asthmatics (AANMA), and have been very impressed by their passion for educating patients and their families about asthma, as well as inspiring people with asthma to live life to the fullest each and every day.
That’s why we’re pleased to support AANMA’s 17th annual ‘Allergy and Asthma Day on Capitol Hill’ in Washington, DC, in which they help to raise awareness and understanding of this serious disease among policy makers. Asthma prevalence in the US continues to increase, as you can see from this infographic.
AANMA’s activities kicked off Tuesday, May 6th, in honor of World Asthma Day with medical experts and patients visiting members of Congress to address critical issues including the need for effective asthma awareness and education, and continued support for allergy and asthma funding.
The meeting Wednesday in the Rayburn house provided a forum which shed light on key issues and challenges that patients and their families face every day.
I’ll remember my trip to DC long after the meetings are over. But from having attended AANMA’s Capitol Hill Days in the past I know that what I’ll remember most clearly are the people who had the courage to tell their story, whether to a crowd of 100 or face to face to a member of the House of Representatives, and share the struggles affecting their personal lives. To me, that’s inspirational.
Be sure to visit AANMA to learn more, and to lend your support in the fight against asthma.