Shared Stories

We all have a reason to fight for clean air. Check out some personal stories below that highlight the need for healthy, safe air, and click here to submit your own.

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Clean air matters to Michael, my 11-year-old son and me. Michael was diagnosed with asthma two years ago and it’s been an uphill battle ever since. While other moms spend their Saturdays cheering on their son at a soccer game, I’ve spent countless weekends the last two years in emergency rooms. Read more...
I was diagnosed with asthma at 3 months of age. Due to this disease, I was hospitalized often from that point until the age of 7. Read more...
I am a 64-year-old woman with adult onset environmental asthma that I have had since my late thirties. I realize without purer air quality outside, my lungs will not improve, and I will struggle to breathe when outside. Read more...
I am a veteran and suffer from MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). I suffer from grand mal epileptic seizures when exposed to a long list of triggers including petrochemicals. Increased air pollution levels, increases the amount of epileptic seizures I have. I’ve also noticed that my seizures increase as a result of the burning of farm fields. Read more...
It was heart breaking when my daughter Emma told me the worst thing about having asthma was not being able to what the other kids can do. But I was proud when she stopped and said, “No, that’s not really true. It’s just harder for me.” Read more...
I had open heart surgery on July 17, 2002, which included an aortic valve replacement and closing a popped an aneurysm as well as another hole discovered below that. Two months later, the cardiologist said, “By the way, you have COPD.” Read more...
I’m an ex-chain smoker who is left with COPD and only 30% of my lungs. Now I find out that the county I live in, King, gets a D rating for ozone. Plus, I live just across the street from a concrete recycler. Read more...
I cannot remember a time when I didn’t struggle to catch my breath. I also couldn’t tell you the last time I didn’t have my inhaler with me. I’ve had asthma for all of my 20 years. Read more...
In 2002 my son Sam was born. From the day he was born he wheezed. At 2 months old he had his first major respiratory infection. He continued on for the next 2 months to have what doctors told us was bronchitis, croup and bronchiolitis. Read more...
I was first diagnosed with asthma at age 16 but didn’t have a major problem until my early 20s when I moved in with friends who had cats. I kept getting sicker and sicker until finally I ended up in the hospital for 10 days. I was sedated and intubated and given massive doses of steroids. Read more...
I’m lucky enough to live in Montana, big sky country. Yet even here, we suffer from clean air issues. The mountains surround us in Missoula, which means the air can get trapped. That’s a serious issue during summer wildfires and winter inversions, which seem to be getting worse. Read more...
I’ve been fighting for the environment and clean air since I was 10 years old, when the very first Earth Day was held. It’s also personal for me. My daughter and I have asthma, and my mother died of lung cancer. Read more...
As a dedicated respiratory therapist for 28 years, I have experienced firsthand the disastrous impact poor air quality has had on ordinary, everyday people. Patients come in each day, fighting for air, suffering from what nurses call, “air hunger.” Gasping for air makes them genuinely frightened. The more anxious our patients become, the harder it gets for them to breathe. It is challenging for even the most experienced staff to see these people suffer. Read more...
I spend a lot of time outdoors, because I bike and walk almost everywhere I go.Bad air quality affects me directly. I don't like the burning feeling in my throat on Air Quality Action Days when ozone levels are high. Read more...
I have battled acute asthma since I was 5 years old. I am now 47. I am thankful I am alive, as I have been brought back to life 4 times now, most recently on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Read more...
I live in Seattle. For an area that rains a lot of the time, Seattle smells. When I walk out of my home in the morning, the air feels thick; I have many sore throats. Read more...
My son died of asthma at the age of 27. I have been fighting for clean air and raising money for clean air for 20 plus years, and I shall continue. Read more...
I have been short-winded all my life but have not had any serious asthma attacks unless my skin allergies and odor allergies are aggravated. By avoiding allergies, I don't have trouble with asthma except in public places where I have no control over my environment. Read more...
I was diagnosed with asthma at age 50. I never smoked and did my best to avoid secondhand smoke. I maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat well, get daily exercise, and my weight is where it needs to be. Read more...
Growing up in the late 60's as an asthmatic was difficult at best. Medication to control and prevent asthma attacks were not very good. I can remember coughing until my stomach muscles hurt and also the disappointment of not being able to do what other kids could do. I can remember living in constant fear that I would have an asthma attack. Read more...
Since I have moved to Florida, I have found out that I am very sensitive to air pollution from factories and cars. I was at a festival celebrating the earth that was directly across from a factory where you could see the pollution pouring out of its smokestack. After a few hours of being in that area, I was having trouble breathing; my nose was running, and I eventually started wheezing. It made me light-headed, and I felt like I was suffocating. Read more...
Asthma used to be labeled as a disease only of a certain race. Now today, working in health care and "growing into asthma" as my doctor tried to put it, I can see how it's became a pandemic illness all over. People who have been healthy are suddenly asthmatic. Read more...
Our asthma journey has been hard – mostly on my son Jake but on the rest of our family as well. We have missed a lot of work; Jake has missed a lot of school; and his older brother has missed a lot of holidays and vacations, because his brother was too sick to leave home. It’s bad enough that Jake has a life-threatening congenital heart defect that has required three open heart surgeries. And believe me, it’s been a scary struggle. Read more...
It is the beginning of a new year, and yet here in Utah we are also facing a fourth day of RED AIR. No one seems that concerned, which is alarming. My healthy otherwise grandson was recently wheezing. A visit to the doctor revealed lung damage from bad air. He now has to take medication for asthma. Read more...
I live in Albany, NY and have allergy induced COPD. I have two inhalers, live on antihistamines, and have chemical sensitivities as well. I am constantly rolling my car windows up and down, even in zero degree weather, just to cope with traffic fumes while driving. Read more...
Every summer I have a body breakdown from air pollution. My eyes get very swollen; I have horrible fatigue; and I feel sick most of the time. I have finally decided I will have to leave the area in the summers because of this. Read more...
My daughter is going to school in Utah, and we visit her there frequently. The air pollution in the Utah Valley is palpable. A brown layer of smog covers the valley, and is especially prominent in the colder months. Air pollution is present even in the remote mountainous regions of the state. Read more...
The article below is from "Independent Reporter" News of Lafayette, and I am absolutely livid about it!! Lafayette is only concerned with the almighty dollar and not people’s health! I am suffering with asthma and COPD, and the air quality here has me incapacitated the majority of the time. I need someone to make sure EPA standards are enforced here in Louisiana and especially in Lafayette... Read more...
My sister and I grew up in Owensboro, KY—tobacco central. Our dad and his immediate family all died from lung cancer due to smoking and working in tobacco plants. My sister also had asthma as a baby and growing up. For a long time, she had no complications until she moved to the Houston area near its industrial hub. Read more...
I’ve lived with severe asthma my entire life. As a child, I was in and out of the hospital more times than I can count. Growing up with asthma was difficult, because it kept me from being able to keep up with my peers. Simple outdoor activities like a game of tag or kickball required me to take frequent breaks to ensure I didn’t lose my breath and have an asthma attack on the playground. Read more...
I have never smoked and have been living with a rare genetic form of asthma for the past 67 years. I take a very expensive biological drug called Xolair every other week at an outpatient procedure clinic here in Tucson, AZ. Even with this treatment, soot in the air can cause me to have a severe allergic reaction that can be fatal. Since my condition is genetic, it also affects many of my family members including my maternal grandfather who died because of her disease at just 34-years-old. Read more...
Those of us with COD end up in house all day when the weather changes and soot levels spike. Children with asthma also suffer. Please. We all need your help! Read more...
My reason for fighting for air is that my dad is in the final stages of emphysema and there are not many options left for him. He is on oxygen 24/7 and all the medicine for emphysema that is out there. It hurts me to hear him tell me that it's getting harder for him to breathe and that he has his good days and bad, but mostly bad. Read more...
I commute 22 miles to and from work every day on my bicycle along Lake Shore Drive. Not only is it great exercise, but I know it’s good for the environment too. However, lately I’ve become increasingly more worried about the air pollution I encounter along my route. I can often taste and smell the exhaust that surrounds me. I even changed my route in efforts to avoid some of the heavy traffic pollution, but depending on the direction the wind blows, I can still smell the foul air and am deeply concerned for my health. Read more...
Meet Sammy, a soon-to-be eleven-year-old asthmatic youngster who is told that he must leave his home, travel unaccompanied to an asthma facility in a new country with a different language and not have contact with his family and friends for the next two years. This memoir is based on a chapter in my life when I left my country of origin to seek treatment in the USA, not speaking a word of English and leaving my family behind for two years. Read more...
My name is Abby, and I am a 31-year-old mother, wife, daughter, sister and aunt. My first asthma attack was at age 13. As time went on, things seemed to get worse. I was forever in and out of the hospital with pneumonia; add to that the misery of my doctors never knowing the cause of my agony. At age 22 after having my first child, I had to have part of my right lung removed. Read more...
I have been living in the New Castle, PA area for 53 years. I am a nonsmoker but have severe allergies and breathing problems. I have just found out I have nodules on my left lung, a chronic sore throat and can't go out most days in the summer, because the air is not safe to breathe. I feel like I'm breathing underwater. Read more...
On October 22, 2010, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I have never smoked and was not influenced by asbestos, coal dust, or petroleum products, etc. No one knows why I have lung cancer, but I do. Read more...
I have a chronic pulmonary illness that makes me susceptible to lung infections. Finding out that New York City scored a D on this year’s State of the Air report was a bit scary but not surprising considering so many people here drive cars. I use public transportation, as I can’t ride my bike to school, because it’s a bit far. Read more...
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