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American Lung Association of Utah

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Imagine going about your daily routine: driving to work, taking a walk, just talking on the phone. Suddenly your chest tightens; you gasp desperately for air. You can't breath.

Sound strange, or unlikely? Actually it's a common occurrence for the more than 100,000 Utahns who suffer from asthma, a chronic and at times, life-threatening disease. Childhood asthma is particularly troubling. Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency reported that over the last two decades, the rate of childhood asthma has doubled. In Utah, approximately 50,000 children suffer from the disease and it is the leading cause of school absences.

The American Lung Association of Utah is committed to funding asthma-cure research. But until a cure is found, they're working hard to educate asthmatic children on how to properly manage the effects of the disease.

I was surprised to learn that the American Lung Association of Utah is the state's oldest voluntary non-profit health agency. Since 1916, the association has developed community education programs and events for Utah children suffering from asthma.

The organization's newest event, the "Blow the Whistle on Asthma" fundraising walk, was held last month at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake. For months leading up to the event, families and friends from Ogden to Provo formed walking teams and raised money for asthma research and education. In all, more than 500 people participated, raising more than $45,000.

The American Lung Association of Utah also offers the only summer camp in the Intermountain Region specifically for asthmatic children. During July 14-18, children from across the Wasatch Front, and from as far away as St. George, meet at Camp Wyatt in the foothills of Tooele for an old fashioned camping experience. Through fun stories and activities, the asthma educators and physicians teach the children that by managing asthma correctly, they can live normal active lives.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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