Girls on the Run is a national organization that supports 5Ks just for girls, and last year more than 179,000 girls from 49 states and the District of Columbia participated in more than 350 end-of-season events. Ronda Bradley’s daughter was one of them, and since her own child got involved in the organization three years ago, the Missouri RT has come on board as well to help ensure that girls with asthma run safely.
“My daughter is a much faster runner than me, so she has always run with her dad,” says Bradley, MS, RRT, FAARC. “However, I saw a need for there to be someone knowledgeable on asthma and exercise to be running with the girls, so I jumped in to run along with our asthmatic girls.”
Her involvement was spurred in part by Girls on the Run coach Gaby Miller. She has asthma herself and recognized the need for someone who was knowledgeable about triggers and could distinguish between running fatigue and/or anxiety and true bronchospasm.
An 11-year-old named Lielani has earned a particularly special place in Bradley’s heart. “When I first met Lielani, she was not using a holding chamber consistently,” says the AARC member. “Since she has been running and I and others have worked with her on inhaler technique, she typically runs with little to no problems throughout a 5K. She is getting ready for her 6th 5K race at 11 years old!”
Bradley has also introduced the Girls on the Run program to another RT in her area who is an avid running and wanted to give back to her community. Now AARC member Ann Rolfes, BS, RRT-ACCS, is a volunteer coach and, Bradley says, “a wonderful asset to our young ladies in leadership and asthma training for those who need it.”
Helping girls with asthma participate in an active sport like running has been extremely rewarding, says Bradley. “As mentioned earlier, it is common for the girls who need an inhaler to not use a spacer. I was able to get a few of the collapsible holding chambers to use on race days, making it easier for us to take them with us on the run,”
It’s all paying off for the girls and their local chapter of Girls on the Run. “With pre and post medication, we have never had an incident during a race!” says the therapist.
May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month. There are lots of ways you can support patients with asthma as well, including continuing your own education in the area.