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Yesterday I joined in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Walk. I’ve lived with secondhand smoke all my life so I consider this cause very close to my heart as well as my lungs. My participation was, however, spurred not so much by how all this smoke has probably affected my health as well as that of the smokers in our family but by the fact that our daughter, who is currently studying at the UIC College of Pharmacy,  was leading a team of fellow students who have recently undergone training in smoking cessation techniques.

The walk itself, held at McDonalds Hamburger University in Oak Brook, Illinois, was only a 3 mile event, which for me is no problem.  I walk quite a bit when I go to the nature center or the Botanic Garden and some of the treks that I’ve been on with my daughter and her husband in downtown Chicago, especially after a heavy meal when a long walk to aid the digestion was called for, must have gone well beyond the 3 mile marker.

The weather was perfect which was fortunate because not only was there a walk involved but also the setting up of information booths and several hours of pre-event activities.  I was pleased to see so many people stop by to pick up pamphlets and could sympathize with those concerned participants who were trying unsuccessfully to drag unwilling spouses to view the latest aids to help give up smoking. My daughter has tried for years to get my husband to quit with no success so I knew how important this event was to her.

The ICHP team looked very professional in their white coats and did a great job assisting people with their questions. Their fund-raising efforts were extremely successful too, raising double the goal they had set for this event. I was so proud of them all.

The walk around the campus, now tinged with autumn colors, was most enjoyable although tempered with a little sadness as we filed past all the names of those loved ones who had succumbed to various illnesses associated with lung disease. I heard so many stories while I was there of people whose health had been affected by smoking. I just hope that all the young people who were present took these tales to heart.  I cringe every time I see a youngster ‘light up’ because I know just how hard it is to quit once you get hooked. It may seem like a cool thing to do now but in years to come they may unfortunately have to come to grips with the term Fight for Air on a more personal level.