I remember it vaguely. The brightly coloured carpet; the toy with the painted wooden beads that slid over rollercoastered wires, back and forth.

I was six – or was I four or five? – when the specialist told my parents I had been diagnosed with asthma. And now it’s honestly been too long to remember not having it.

I’m certain I didn’t understand what it meant at the time, and even today I don’t tend to associate the occasional symptoms with a chronic respiratory condition. For the better part of two decades, it’s been an inability to really participate in sports, and avoiding petting zoos at all costs– or homes that resemble them – that have been the hallmarks of living with asthma. It was having a common cold get much more complicated, or the anxiety of going out without an inhaler, that affected my life the most.

Today, the symptoms – the physical ones and the lifestyle ones – are mild, and I’m lucky. I can go to a concert and the clouds of cigarette smoke barely tickle my throat, and there are few activities that trigger a flare up.

But with a smoky reminder of B.C.’s some 180 forest fires lingering all over Metro Vancouver, I’m also reminded that I’m one of three million Canadians living with the disease, and of how fortunate I am that mine lies at the calmer end of the spectrum.

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer for a number of worthy organizations with the community outreach committee I chair as part of the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Leaders of Tomorrow program. This week, I’m looking forward to raising some funds for a cause that’s particularly close to my lungs.

On Saturday, I’m running around Vancouver in support of the BC Lung Association as a participant in RUSH Vancouver. I’m doing this because it’s an awesome event for a great cause, but also because as recently as several years ago, running around the city would not have been possible without rapidly becoming less and less able to breathe. (Don’t get me wrong: I’ll probably still lose my breath, but it will not be related to asthma.)

It’s bound to be a great event, for a worthy cause, on a beautiful day, and I’m really looking forward to it.

More information about the BC Lung Association is available here, and my personal fundraising page for Saturday’s event is available here.

With me luck!

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