As I grow older, I am beginning to notice many stereotypes that exist regarding asthma – these are inaccurate representations that cause people to misunderstand the disease.
If there were fewer misperceptions and a better understanding of asthma, would there be improved treatments for people with more severe cases, like mine?
Recently in English class at school, we read “The Lord of the Flies.” The book begins by introducing the character Piggy who stands out as being very different from the others because he suffers from asthma. He explains that his asthma has prevented him from swimming and another character Ralph says something to belittle him. Piggy’s physical deficiencies separate him from others. He is overweight, generally whines, and is unhelpful.
I also recently watched the movie “Shrek” with my cousins. The donkey in the movie has asthma and is unable to fend off the dragon because its smoky breath was unhealthy.
Most people believe asthma looks like the scrawny boy on the sideline reaching for his inhaler, or the overweight kid who cannot keep up. On behalf of all those with asthma, I wish there was a more accurate portrayal and better understanding of asthma in art and media.
Yes, I spend days being ill, but when I am healthy, I make every day count. I am an all-star cheerleader and I’m on the swim team. I have won academic awards and I get straight A’s in mostly honors classes.
I want other people to understand that asthma does not define me. It does not make me weak; it makes me strong.