If your child has asthma, she might be a star in the making. Many athletes, movie stars, U.S. presidents and other famous people have attained world-wide success while living with asthma. Their stories prove that a diagnosis of asthma doesn’t have to hold you back.
The 4-time Olympian and 3-time gold medalist was diagnosed with asthma as a freshman at UCLA. While playing basketball and running track, she had trouble catching her breath.
But she tried to hide her symptoms because she was afraid of losing her scholarship. Eventually a doctor diagnosed her with asthma.
Since Joyner-Kersee didn’t take her controller medication regularly, she eventually suffered a life-threatening asthma attack. After that experience, she realized she needed to respect asthma and view it like an opponent she must try to outdo.
Her efforts to control asthma paid off. In 2000, Sports Illustrated for Women named her the top female athlete of all time.
The soccer legend had kept his asthma a secret until he was photographed using an inhaler on the sideline of the Major League Soccer championship game. Fans were stupefied. Despite being in the public eye for more than 15 years as a professional soccer player, no one knew he had asthma.
When asked, Beckham replied that it never became public because he “had no reason to talk about it.”
Rumor has it that he uses high-altitude training to accustom his lungs to lower levels of oxygen.
Other than that, little is known about how he manages his asthma. But what is known is that he has achieved a very high level of success on and off the soccer field.
John F. Kennedy (JFK)
JFK was 1 of 5 U.S. Presidents – along with Martin Van Buren, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge – who had asthma. During high school and college, his asthma was so bad that he spent a whole school year in Arizona’s dry climate to control his condition.
After serving in the military and becoming a war hero, JFK went into politics, ultimately becoming the youngest man ever elected as President.
While in office, he continued to suffer from asthma, which he controlled with daily medication and a bronchodilator.
Despite his asthma and other health conditions, he became one of the most famous men of the 20th century.
Between the ages of 4 and 12, actress Jessica Alba’s asthma was so bad that she was frequently in the hospital. Her lungs nearly collapsed during a severe attack. Born in 1981, the popular romantic comedy actress has starred in movies like The Fantastic Four and TV shows like Dark Angel.
Alba’s most severe reactions have diminished as she has learned to avoid fragrances, detergents, harsh cleansers, certain food preservatives, pesticides and other products that can trigger asthma attacks. She feels a sense of empowerment by controlling her environment, always carrying a rescue inhaler with her.
We encourage you to talk with your child about these famous individuals and how they controlled their asthma. If they managed to achieve their dreams, so can your child.