Community Gathers around Asthma Awareness — Let Us Breathe Event 2024

March 23, 2024 – Chester, PA. – This Saturday, local environmental justice group Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living hosted a community and family event about asthma awareness. Asthma – a respiratory disease affecting approximately 25 million people – is a condition which narrows your airways and makes it difficult to breathe. Residents in Chester have a higher likelihood of having asthma, due to the higher instances of environmental pollution in the area. 

“Unfortunately these industries are poisoning our air, and then families are caring for sick children without knowing how to deal with it,” said chairperson Zulene Mayfield. “We wanted to host a fun-filled family afternoon to show kids and their parents how to cope with this – sadly, common – sickness.” 

The event hosted almost a dozen stations for kids to move through, and each station had a craft or activity. One table featured a craft showing the diagrams of lungs, and another table showed kids how to use an asthma inhaler.  Attendees were able to go home with air purifying plants, children’s books, boxes that can help reduce air pollution, and more. All the activities were focused on wellness, normalizing the care of asthma, and making sure attendees walk away knowing what the triggers can be.  For example, many don’t realize that things like secondhand smoke, dust, mold, pets, and even cleaning products can trigger an asthma attack. 

“Asthma impacts the whole family and community, leaving a long lasting ripping effect,” says Chester resident and asthma patient Carolyn Tillery. “The impacts of asthma are felt throughout the life of the sufferer, physically as well as financially.”

Additional organizations including Physicians for Social Responsibility, Delaware Psychology Association, ChesPenn Library, Widener Physician Assistants and Health Educated had tables at the event. Speakers highlighted the importance of staying on top of asthma care and the various ways residents and families can access support. The lineup included members from Health Educated, Loren  from the local library, event co-coordinator Carolyn Tillery, and members of the audience affected by asthma. 

“While we fight against the industries polluting our city,” Mayfield says, “we need to make sure residents know how to protect themselves in the meantime.”

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