Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)

A Life of Firsts

Published February - 1 - 2009 Print This Post

Most of us remember “firsts” — the first kiss, first car, first speeding ticket – well this is AANMA’s first blog on our brand spanking new website! It’s been a staff effort led by Mike Szegedy and he’s made it fun and easy.

When I started AANMA nearly 24 years ago at my kitchen table, the average family didn’t own a home computer much less access to Internet or a Google search engine. Although the first issue of The MA Report was launched without cyber assistance, it was amazingly viral as word spread nationwide that there was hope, practical help, support and understanding on each of its typewritten 8 pages.

Some of you remember that first newsletter; the family-to-family approach was not only unique, it was medically accurate and talked about the issues affecting us. You may recall our first sponsor, Sandoz. My PhD in motherhood didn’t prepare me for administrative tasks, taxes, legal registrations – all of which came with price tags and a need for experts. We are very thankful for the many pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and consumer health product companies that have sponsored our programs over the years. Without them, there simply wouldn’t have been money to do the work that has changed the way respiratory and allergic disorders are treated today.

“In the olden days,” AANMA’s first volunteers and their wonderful children answered phones, folded, stamped, bundled and mailed the monthly newsletter – in the kitchen, living room, basement and wherever there was room. We laughed and learned and grew.

Two volunteers-turned-employees — Sandra Fusco-Walker (now Director of Advocacy) and Dolores Libera (now a consultant to AANMA) — helped shape every facet of who AANMA is today. Even though our children are now grown, we work even harder to finish the work we started – to end death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions.

Applied knowledge is power to overcome, so it’s important to know that your source of information is not only accurate, it’s practical and user-friendly. Instead of waiting for a cure, we help people live fully each day.

Even so, 11 children and adults die needlessly each day in the U.S. because asthma or anaphylactic symptoms cut them down. Their families ask us, “Why didn’t anyone tell me about AANMA before now? I didn’t even know his asthma was bad enough to need AANMA. But if I’d known before what I’ve learned from you now, his death never would have happened.” It’s humbling every time we hear it.

We know the pitfalls that cause suffering and sometimes death; many don’t know that they don’t know how or when to use their medications. There is no written patient-centered asthma action plan. They are not getting follow-up care. Some are using one or more inhaled bronchodilators canisters a month, unaware of the dangers or the fact that we can help them get healthy enough that they rarely have need for most medication.

We’re not into fear tactics – we’re all about action. Strategies. Moving beyond the symptoms to be whatever it is that you’d rather be other than dealing with symptoms. You wouldn’t be reading this blog right now if you weren’t searching for quick solutions. And while we can’t promise instant success, we can help shorten your journey.

Whether it’s asthma or COPD, food allergies or bee sting anaphylaxis, eczema or rhinitis, hives or gastroesophageal reflux, you’ve got our help without hype.  With AANMA, allergy-proofing your home won’t break the bank or leave you sleeping on plastic lawn furniture. We’ll show you your options without endorsing or certifying products. We don’t sell our logo or our loyalty.

Now that you’ve gotten to know AANMA a little better, be one of our first new friends. Enjoy our new website, support the cause, sign up for e-mail alerts and RSS feeds, register to receive a free copy of Allergy & Asthma Today magazine (it’s a limited time offer), become a volunteer or help spread the word about AANMA to family and friends through your social networks.

Because together, we help a world of people breathe easier,

Nancy