LAHAINA – Lahaina resident Abcde Shibao Rosa is a program assistant for the Maui County Department of Housing and Human Concerns’ Retiree and Senior Volunteer Program, owner of the online business Our Little Stiles, and has asthma. Rosa’s story about her battle with asthma, which she wishes to share with the community, is a story that many others may be experiencing.
After hearing of the unfortunate death of Maui resident Carmen Pasion Dagulo from an unexpected fatal asthma attack, Rosa also wanted to reach out to those who also suffer from asthma and allergies in the community.
Carmen’s sister, Lalaine Pasion, has led the upcoming Lungs for Life event and program to raise awareness of the importance of prompt treatment for asthma in children and adults. Additionally, Pasion, Rosa and all participants want to ensure that no one else on Maui has the same heartbreaking experience and outcome as Carmen.
Rosa will also be a participating vendor at the inaugural Maui Asthma Awareness and Fitness Lungs for Life event taking place on Sunday, September 25 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Level Up Maui at 343 Hanamau St. in Kahului .
Level Up Maui owners Jackie Pappas and Martin Cox said: “We’re hosting this event because our mission is to educate and empower our local Maui community about their health. The whole purpose is to raise awareness about asthma and allergies and make a difference too.”
Overall, the main goal of the event is better health and well-being for the public. All participants hope that the event will improve the quality of life and achieve equitable and optimal health outcomes for adults and children living with these chronic conditions, particularly those in underserved communities.
The program includes asthma and allergy information and fitness classes for all ages, and many local vendors, such as Rosa, offer related products. Combined proceeds will benefit the Allergy & Asthma Network, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting patient education, education, advocacy and research for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions. Rosa explained, “More than 110,000 Hawaiians live with asthma, and about a third of those are children. Knowing the need and immediacy of asthma and related conditions, I wanted to help educate others. Treatments to control asthma symptoms can lead to a more fulfilling life with better breathing and improved lung function. Many experts say that monitoring your health triggers and using your inhaler every day can prevent severe asthma attacks.
“My own problem started when I was competing in track and field in high school. I noticed that I was having trouble breathing during the daily workout and when I brought it up to the trainer and others I was told it wasn’t a problem and I would be fine. However, when I finally went to the doctor, I was diagnosed with asthma and my inhaler became my best friend. Now that I’m aware of how serious the problem can become, I want to get involved in educating the community and letting them know of all the treatments and help available. People with asthma do not have to suffer everyday symptoms that can lead to a life or death situation.”
The Allergy & Asthma Network is working with Carmen’s family and friends to host the event. They unite and speak out on behalf of 60 million Americans with asthma, allergies and related diseases.
Their patient-centric network brings together individuals, families, caregivers, healthcare professionals, industry partners and government decision-makers to improve health and quality of life. The network specializes in making medically accurate information understandable for all while promoting evidence-based standards of care.
Pasion remarked, “After losing my sister, Carmen, to a fatal asthma attack, I knew I had to reach out to the Allergy & Asthma Network to see how I could educate the community about this mostly ignored issue. They work with national and local partners to train healthcare professionals and they host events and screenings that reach people directly in their own communities. With them, I hope to raise awareness and educate the community through easy-to-understand, medically-validated resources. In addition, I hope to be able to advocate at the state level to improve access to health care and affordable medicines. We want to make sure patients’ voices are heard in research and drug development.
“Ironically, the Lungs for Life event coincides with the Hawaii Senate’s recent passage of a bill (SB 2822 SD1 HD1 Asthma) requiring the Department of Education to provide asthma education to high school students. The legislation would also develop and provide asthma training for teachers and other Department of Education staff involved with students. The accompanying bill in the Hawaii House of Representatives (HB 1799) is currently under consideration in committee.”
Anyone, regardless of age, family background, race, gender, or general health condition, can develop asthma and allergies. Researchers believe that many genetic and environmental factors play a role, particularly in the early years of life when the immune system is developing. However, asthma and severe allergies can occur at any age.
An asthma attack occurs when an asthma trigger causes the lungs to become inflamed and swollen. The muscles around the breathing tubes contract or spasm, and more mucus than usual is produced. All of these factors constrict the breathing tubes and make it difficult for air to flow in and out of the lungs.
During a recent report on adult asthma awareness on KITV 4 News, Dr. Barry Lachman: “Asthma is a very controllable disease if you follow recommendations and take your medication – and take it seriously. A significant number of people do not grow out of their asthma. The earlier asthma problems start, the more likely they are to persist.”
Pedro Haro, executive director of the American Lung Association, said, “Asthma remains a pressing problem for Hawaii. According to the Hawaii Department of Health’s Asthma Tracker, nearly 9 percent of all adults and 8 percent of all children in Hawaii are currently living with asthma. Asthma rates in native Hawaiian communities are even higher.
“Asthma is also the leading reason for absenteeism from school, and many parents have to take their children to the emergency room for asthma attacks. It’s important to let people know that asthma is an important issue.”
passion completed, “Many asthma and allergy sufferers are unaware that there are self-care tools they can use to manage their symptoms between doctor visits and connect to a support circle. It’s that kind of information that we hope to be able to share on September 25th. The event, open to the public, pays tribute to Carmen and other Maui residents whose tragic asthma attack could have been avoided had the proper treatment been known and implemented.” The American Lung Association provides information for the community to manage asthma in children and adults. Find resources online at https://lung.org.asthma or call 1-800-LUNG-USA to speak to a lung health professional.
To learn more about the Allergy & Asthma Network, visit AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org.