Students, faculty walk for a cause

David Olender

By DAVID J. OLENDER
City Times

More than 170 City College students, faculty and staff participated in the American Lung Association’s fourth annual Asthma Walk on Sept. 24 at the Naval Training Center Promenade at Liberty Station in Point Loma.

“As a person having suffered from asthma in my teens I have a great deal of empathy for everyone suffering from any kind of lung condition and realize how important it is to bring about awareness of lung health,” said San Diego City College’s Associated Student Government President, Fabian Francisco.

“I would like to see more students participate in the fight against all forms of lung disease.”

The five-mile walk was designed to recognize and support more than 20 million Americans suffering from asthma. All funds raised for the event will finance lung research, anti-smoking programs, asthma education programs and the promotion of clean air.

The American Lung Association holds annual Asthma Walks all over the United States with the goal of raising money in support of and spreading awareness about lung disease. The American Lung Association’s California fall schedule included stops in Fresno on Sept. 23, then San Diego, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Chico, Riverside, Santa Rosa, Irvine, ending in Los Angeles on Nov. 5.

“This is City College’s first experience pulling together a team in effort to raise funds to help stamp out asthma and promote global awareness in regards to lung disease,” said Mary Benard, dean of sciences, nursing, health and athletics at City College.

“We are also looking to see what we can do to diminish smoking on campus.”
In addition to walking themselves, people had the opportunity to volunteer for the walk, sponsor a walker or make a donation to the cause.

Team Research San Diego, KUSI News San Diego and Medicinova sponsored the event in which 89 teams participated and donations have reached more than $77,000.

In San Diego County alone, more than 314,000 adults and children suffer from asthma. The asthma epidemic is a primary reason a child is absent from school and why parents of those children must stay home from work in order to care for their child, according to the American Lung Association.

“We want to promote a clean air atmosphere on campus,” said Kathy McGinnis, City College’s chairwoman of health and exercise sciences and the captain of City College’s walk team. “I realize it’s probably not realistic to ban smoking completely on our campus having done surveys of students, staff and faculty. This is our way of supporting clean air for all.”

The American Lung Association ranks lung conditions such as asthma, lug cancer and emphysema number three in leading causes of death in the United States and the death rate of lung disease has been increasing more rapidly than the death rate of almost any other life threatening disease in the last decade.

The American Lung Association has been combating lung disease through the collective effort of research, community service, education and advocacy since 1904. The association’s goal for the last 100 years has been to support and help those who currently suffer from lung disease, prevent its potential to affect others in the future and influence public policy.
For additional information regarding lung disease and the Asthma Walk visit www.asthmawalk.org, www.lungusa.org. or www.lungsandiego.org.