Flu Shot is a Gift for Your Lungs

Vaccines are a safe and important part of medical care for everyone. Regular immunizations prevent common bugs like the flu and limit the spread of disease through our communities. For people living with lung disease, a flu shot is especially important. Someone with asthma or COPD:

  • Has a greater risk of catching common infections like the flu
  • May feel added effects from flu symptoms
  • Is more likely to develop pneumonia or other lung problems

This year, getting a flu shot is more important than ever. The CDC estimates less than half of adults get an annual flu shot.  COVID-19 continues to spread, and we do not yet have a vaccine to prevent infection. While a flu vaccine cannot prevent you from getting COVID-19, it can help you avoid the flu so your immune system is better able to cope with other illnesses. It also reduces your risk of hospitalization and possibly developing more severe illness, and further adding to the burden on our health care facilities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports flu shots may lower the risk of getting sick by 40 to 60 percent. It also helps those who cannot receive a shot, including children under 6 months old. Additionally, the CDC typically recommends a one-time pneumonia shot for those who live with lung disease.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and a great time to talk with your doctor about ways to stay healthy going into peak flu season. Flu cases are most common in the fall and winter, especially between December and February. Ask if you are up-to-date on past vaccines and to get an annual flu shot. Are you concerned about visiting a facility as COVID-19 continues to spread? Talk to your doctor about ways to stay safe.

If you or loved ones are displaying flu symptoms (fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) please stay home. Remember to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough, and promptly contact your health care provider.

Additional Resources

If you do not have a regular doctor or healthcare provider, or have other questions, there are a number of local and national resources to help:

Julie’s Ride Signals Her Next Chapter

Written by Amanda Sabino

As the wheels on her road bike dig into a local trail, Julie Hubbell focuses on clocking another 10 miles for CowaLUNGa’s Virtual Charity Bike Tour. Through ups and downs over the last few years, Julie knows one thing always makes her feel better – hopping on her bike and riding. But she also rides to celebrate completing a year of lung cancer immunotherapy treatments this August.

picture of Julie and her husband Steve

Julie Hubbell and her husband, Steve.

“What do I do now?” she wonders of her post-treatment future.

Julie’s fight against lung cancer has been uniquely challenging for both her and the medical staff at St. Mary’s in Hobart, Indiana. For the past two years, Julie, an outspoken advocate for her medical care, has worked with the doctors and nurses at St. Mary’s to help save her life.

She was initially diagnosed with Stage 2 lung cancer. When a surgeon went to remove her tumor, they found it wrapped around her pulmonary artery. Instead of hearing good news when she woke from surgery, doctors told her they could not remove it.

Now living with Stage 3 lung cancer, she would have to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment immediately. With her back on a hospital bed, and still connected to a chest tube, she was struck with fear at this setback.

“Why me?” she recalls thinking.

Facing the challenges of lung disease was nothing new for Julie, however. Several years earlier, she was diagnosed with COPD – but she wouldn’t let it stop her. She found community and support at Respiratory Health Association’s Living Better Together Conference for COPD, which empowered her to self-manage her care. Motivated by her improved well-being, she signed up to climb 52 floors to the top of Chicago’s skyline at Hustle Chicago Stair Climb® the next year. As she neared the top of the building, Julie burst into tears reflecting on how far she had come.

“It was surreal realizing I would finish,” she remembers.

Now facing this latest setback from lung cancer, Julie was prepared to fight again. The aggressiveness of her new treatment plan matched the goal – to decrease the size of a tumor now as big as her fist. By her third round of chemo, Julie’s white blood count was so low she had to get a blood transfusion. At the end of a few days in the ICU, she told doctors she did not want to complete the treatment.

Her doctors told her they would do everything to help her complete the treatment successfully. Her kids, who were by her side, urged her to continue. She had already come so far. Her daughter pleaded with her.

“Mom, do the treatment,” her son said quietly.

“You’re Gabe’s person,” her daughter said of Julie’s grandson. “You have to be here for Gabe.”

Julie and her daughter

Julie and her daughter.

The encouragement worked. Today, Julie is glad her doctors and family convinced her to continue chemotherapy. It led her to begin immunotherapy, which came along with its own challenges and side effects. But two years of treatment turned the tide against her cancer. Her tumor is down to the size of a walnut.

Side effects from the treatments have slowed her down, but she continues to regain strength and expects to feel even better after her last one in August.

“This,” she says, referencing her bike and her rides, “is kind of my getting back to living.”

As Julie gets ready for another bike ride and her last immunotherapy treatment, she reflects on her own will and the family that pushed her forward. Her determination and love for her family have never changed, but so much else has. Her next challenge is living in this new reality.

“The old me is gone,” she says. “I’m trying to figure out who the new me is. And cycling will be a big part of that.”

To donate to Julie’s ride and support those living with COPD, as well as research into lung cancer, click here.

Wearing Masks During COVID-19

In some places, wearing a cloth face covering or mask is now mandatory for indoor and some outdoor public spaces.  In addition to continued social distancing, hand washing, and staying home as much as possible, wearing masks can provide important protections against COVID-19 exposure.

For some people with COPD, asthma and other respiratory conditions, facial coverings may make breathing more difficult. If that is the case, we encourage you to consider alternatives that allow you to stay at home.  For example, many grocery stores and other business offer delivery or you may ask a family member or friend to help you get the supplies you may need.  Also, try to schedule your daily walk (or other outings) when others are less likely to be out.

If you can breathe comfortably while wearing a face mask, we want to share some tips to ensure it provides you with the most protection.:

  • Make sure the mask covers both your nose and mouth
  • The mask should fit snugly against the side of the face
  • Use the ties or ear loops to keep the mask in place
  • Use a mask that has multiple layers
  • If you wear a cloth mask, find one that can withstand being washed without damage
  • Make sure you remove your mask without touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

Even with a mask, it’s important to practice social distancing. Continuing to avoid crowds in parks, stores, and streets can help minimize your exposure to COVID-19.

COVID-19 social distancing, wearing masks, stay six feet apart, wash hands often, stay home if sick

 

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Living With COPD As Reopening Begins

The lifting of stay-at-home orders, while a positive sign, presents special risks for people living with chronic lung disease.  As places are reopening and people begin mixing with family members and friends who are no longer practicing social distancing, people living with COPD need to make sure they stay healthy and avoid exposure to the novel coronavirus.

People with chronic lung disease and other vulnerable conditions and members of their households should still keep in mind ways to remain safe and healthy when stay-at-home orders are lifted. Here are some important tips for continuing to protect yourself:

  • Try to limit trips out in public (e.g., make one big grocery trip every two weeks rather than going more frequently).
  • Continue to wear a cloth mask or face covering in public if it does not restrict your breathing
  • Avoid touching your face and wash your hands often while in public. Wash your hands as soon as you can when you are back at home.
  • Wear an outer layer of clothing (like a jacket or sweater) that you can take off and leave by the door as soon as you get home. This will minimize any germs brought into the house.
  • Try to limit visits with people outside of your household, including friends and grandchildren.
  • Continue social distancing. Social distancing does not mean social isolation.  You can connect with loved ones virtually or write letters and send via mail.  Or you can visit in your yard or a park where you can remain six feet away from guests.
  • Help your family and friends understand why it is important that you are not exposed. Remind them that people with the virus are actually contagious for several days before they show any symptoms. This is what makes the coronavirus so contagious.
  • When outside of your home, continue to practice physical distancing (staying at least six feet away from others). Limit time spent in crowded environments.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

At this time, we do not know when in-person pulmonary rehabilitation programs will resume.  Pulmonary rehabilitation facilities present special risks because of the number of participants who are considered at-risk for severe COVID-19. They are also close quarters in which many groups operate, which makes social distancing difficult to achieve.  Call your healthcare provider or pulmonary rehabilitation leader to learn what their plans.  For recommendations of exercises that can be done at home, please click here to get a list of exercises and additional resources.

Guidance on Caring for Children & Social Distancing

As family and friends start going back to work, they may ask you to watch grandchildren or other children. Currently, the CDC and AARP recommend that older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions continue to physically distance themselves from children who do not live in their households.

If asked to care for children who do not live in your household, you can do so in ways that reduce your risk of getting sick. These include ensuring the children have limited contact with other people outside their households. Make sure they practice good hygiene (washing hands, wearing a mask while out, etc.). If someone with COPD (or another high risk condition) is taking care of a child who is sick, consider social distancing within the house. Have that child wear a cloth mask in the house to prevent the spread of the virus to others.

If you would like to receive more information for people living with COPD, please click here.

Khalilah Gates, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Education, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine edited this content.

Dr. Mark Dransfield Receives 2020 Solovy Award for COPD Research

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) is pleased to name Mark Dransfield, MD, Medical Director of the Lung Health Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), as recipient of the 2020 Solovy Award for his work to improve lives through COPD research.

The award is funded by the Kathleen Hart Solovy and Jerold S. Solovy Endowment for COPD, and recognizes researchers who have worked to improve the lives of those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to formally present the award at our Summer Reception, but plan to recognize Dr. Dransfield in-person at a future date.

2020 solovy award winner Dr. Mark Dransfield

“I am humbled and honored to be the recipient of the 2020 Solovy Award, following in a line of incredible lung health researchers,” said Dransfield. “This award opens the door for young investigators to pursue research developing and testing new diagnostic, preventative, and treatment strategies for COPD. And most importantly, it can help positively impact the lives of those living with COPD across the county and the world.”

Dr. Dransfield’s body of work in COPD includes research into many therapies currently used to treat the disease, as well as ongoing investigations into new treatment options and potential medications. He has written nearly 200 original manuscripts and has made multiple important discoveries throughout his career. He developed and oversaw a clinical trial examining the effectiveness of a pneumonia vaccine for patients with COPD, and recently completed a study examining the effects of beta-blockers to treat COPD. This research found that beta-blockers, commonly used to treat those living with COPD, do not reduce the risk of COPD exacerbations and in some instances may cause harm. These findings could lead to changes in treatment recommendations for those living with moderate to advanced cases of COPD.

The impact of his research is significant – and is a reminder lung disease research is historically underfunded.

“Despite the public health impact of COPD, the financial support for COPD research is less than that for other common conditions including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” he said. “The Solovy award provides money critical to jumpstart projects that may otherwise not get the support they need, laying the groundwork for innovations in treatment and hopefully one day a cure for COPD.”

Each year Respiratory Health Association awards early-stage research grants to promising projects covering lung diseases such as lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Learn more about RHA’s research program and funding opportunities.

Her Father’s Fight Propels Lindsay to the Finish Line

Written by Amanda Sabino

With a heavy beat booming through her headphones, Lindsay Condon sets off on another run. After a year on the sidelines with an injured ankle, she welcomes the return to activity. And now, each run is a step forward in her training for the 2020 Chicago Marathon.

Lindsay with her dad, Mike.

The marathon looms large in Condon family lore – Lindsay’s father Mike ran in 1996. This year, Lindsay will run as a tribute to him – two years after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

When she told her father, his reaction was a humble one.

“Lindsay, that was really nice of you,” he said, “but you don’t have to do that.”

“I know it means something to him,” she reflects.

As an occupational therapist from a family of healthcare professionals, running for lung health was already a perfect match for Lindsay. But the Condon’s lives have been profoundly impacted by lung cancer.

Mike was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in the spring of 2018. He began chemotherapy and radiation therapy for five months followed by nine months of Infinzi, a stage 3 immune therapy. The side effects of the chemotherapy drugs were horrific. Mike lost 35 pounds and had an allergic reaction to one of the drugs. He had difficulty lifting his feet and had swollen hands. Usually a huge jokester and life of the party, Mike’s boisterous voice was reduced to a strained whisper.

“At his lowest point, he couldn’t walk from the bed to the bathroom,” Lindsay recalls.

Mike, a lifelong chiropractor, was forced to retire after 30 years running his own practice. Lindsay describes her father as someone who cares deeply for his health and the health of his clients. Now lung cancer was forcing him to leave his dream.

For all his difficulty, after a year of treatments it seemed as though he had turned a corner – the drugs worked, and Mike had entered remission. But at the end of 2019, he got pneumonia. A scan in January showed his tumor re-appeared bigger than before and had spread to his lymph nodes. He began three months of weekly chemotherapy. For the next two years, he will continue to take Keytruda, a stage 4 immune therapy which he receives once every three weeks.

Lindsay and her dad.

“It’s a roller coaster,” Lindsay says. “One day his tumor has shrunk, and a couple months later it’s bigger.”

Lindsay is fueled by what her dad has accomplished throughout his life and her vision for what his life could be in the future with more funding for lung cancer research. She’s seen firsthand the challenges cancer has brought to her father and her family – but they still cherish each day.

“We’re sticking together through all this. I’ve never had to go through any of this alone.”

The COVID-19 pandemic makes things more challenging. Lindsay has to avoid contact with her father, but despite the difficulty of separation, she’s still afforded a few glimpses of her parents.

“They’ll drive by my house just to wave,” she says. “We’re just thankful for the time we have now.”

Now more than ever, she knows not to take her youth and health for granted. And when she gets tired, her strength of will runs in step with his indomitable spirit.

“I just tell myself, ‘You can do this. Because your dad can’t, you can do this, and you’ve got this.’”

Her advice to other runners? “It’s all mental. Your body can take you there. It doesn’t matter if you walk. As long as you finish.”

To support Lindsay’s run with Respiratory Health Association’s Lung Power Team and further research, education and advocacy around lung cancer and other lung diseases, donate here.

Lindsay with her parents.

Together We Are Working to Prevent Lung Disease and Promote Clean Air

This year we have faced extraordinary challenges, and made remarkable progress. Your dedicated support makes it possible for us to have an impact in communities throughout Illinois and beyond. As we come to the end of our program year, we want to share some of our work to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people with lung disease live better lives.

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 presented an unprecedented lung health challenge. We immediately turned toward providing credible information and support to vulnerable communities, including people with chronic lung disease, and our team worked to understand and address health equity issues causing more harm to underserved communities. RHA is also providing funding for important research into COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Emergency Asthma Medication in Schools

In Illinois, more than 280,000 children are reported to have asthma. After successfully advocating for the law to allow schools to keep emergency asthma medication on hand, we worked with Illinois Department of Public Health to develop guidelines for schools and have proposed legislation to make medications available so that all schools can create a safer environment for students.

Peoria Coal Plant Closure & Settlement

For more than 50 years, the E.D. Edwards power plant has burned coal and contributed to dangerous levels of air pollution in central Illinois. This year, with the help of environmental partners and our pro bono legal counsel, we won an $8+ million settlement that will be reinvested in the local community, and the plant will close.

Chicago Transportation Authority Air Pollution & Health Study

With support from the Joyce Foundation and University of Chicago, we studied the relationship between exposure to air pollution and chronic illness. The study was the first of its kind in Chicago and showed that people living near high volume bus routes and garages have more lung health problems. We will use the findings to advocate for cleaner transportation and stronger air protections.

Asthma Education Expanded

Our school-based asthma education reached hundreds of additional students across Illinois. With support from the Illinois State Board of Education, we were able to reach students with asthma in high-need communities from outside St. Louis to Waukegan and everywhere between.

smiling family with award help prevent lung disease

Justin Broome, recognized as a Next Generation Advocate in lung health, and his family at our 2019 Fall Reception.

Vaping Response & Resources

This year we saw youth e-cigarette use skyrocket and an outbreak of vaping-related lung injury. We developed resources aimed at dispelling myths about vaping and e-cigarettes, including a guide for parents to help them talk to their kids about the dangers of vaping. These resources were shared with parents in partnership with local schools.

National Tobacco Programs

We took our evidence-based quit smoking programs to Trinity Health locations across the country. Courage to Quit® is now offered in healthcare settings from California to Connecticut. In addition, hundreds of medical professionals have learned how to talk to patients about quitting through RHA’s Counsel to Quit® course for healthcare professionals.

COPD Hospital-to-Home Guide

We worked with University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Population Health Sciences Division to help COPD patients and caregivers transition to home after a hospital stay. The goal is to help patients stay healthy at home and reduce hospital readmissions.

Lung Cancer Research

We funded Loyola University professor Dr. Maurizio Bocchetta’s lung cancer research. He and his team are investigating whether a certain enzyme can be used to stabilize lung cells and prevent cancer growth. Researchers like Dr. Bocchetta work to increase knowledge and understanding of disease development to support those affected by lung cancer.

Your support made all this possible. Thank you. Together we will keep taking steps to prevent lung disease and promote clean air, whatever the future holds.

To learn more about the educational programs, research, and policy work your contributions support, as well as to receive updates on our work toward healthy lungs and clean air for all, sign-up for our monthly newsletter.

The need for RHA’s work is greater than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, and our programs and events depend on the support of our community. We understand many are experiencing hardship during these times, but if you are in a position to donate, we need your help. If you’d like to support RHA’s work to prevent lung disease and promote clean air, you can donate here.

Mia’s Story: Living with Asthma During COVID-19

Mia during our 2019 State Lung Health Education Day, an opportunity for advocates to speak to lawmakers about clean air and lung health issues in Illinois.

Mia Fritsch-Anderson, 15, is a freshman at Whitney Young High School in Chicago. She began working with Respiratory Health Association at the age of five after being diagnosed with asthma. She regularly participates in lung health education and advocacy activities in her community and throughout the Chicago area, and won RHA’s Next Generation Advocate award in 2019 for her work.

Growing up with asthma has always involved extra caution and safety measures for me, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, my lung health is constantly on my mind. When the coronavirus first started showing up in the news, I immediately clued in on the extra warnings for people with lung disease. People like me with moderate to severe asthma are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Because of this, my family and I have taken the stay at home order very seriously. I have not gone inside any restaurant or business, or hung out with any of my friends, since my last day of school on March 16. It’s especially hard to see my peers on social media going over to a friend’s house “just for a little while,” but I can’t take that risk right now.

In a way, I think living with a chronic lung disease made it a little easier for my family and I to adjust to all the safety recommendations. Many of them we already followed daily. Because a simple cold so easily progresses to pneumonia for me (at least twice a year), my family and I have always been especially careful about hand washing and have always used disposable paper towels in the bathroom. To avoid tracking germs all over the house, we have always been a “no shoes inside” family. We’ve always worked with my doctors and pharmacists to make sure I have enough of all my daily and rescue medications at home.

Since a major symptom of COVID-19 is not being able to breathe, any shortness of breath or tightness in my chest, no matter how small, has me wondering all the time if now I’m sick. And as an asthmatic, I’m already extra vigilant about how my breathing sounds, so I’m constantly worried that I’ve caught the virus. Before coronavirus, it wouldn’t phase me at all. I’d just think I needed some extra albuterol, grab my inhaler, and carry on. I’m sure every kid and teen with asthma has the same thoughts right now.

Asthma has also helped me better understand the general public’s fears around the coronavirus, like having trouble breathing, since I’ve been dealing with it all for 15 years. Recently, a family shared with me how scared their little girls were to wear face masks, because they are different and “it feels weird.” I could instantly relate to that as a lifelong nebulizer user and was able to give them tips to help them feel more comfortable. I think those of us together in this “lung disease” club are in a unique position to help others with the challenges that come from fear around breathing symptoms.

I think a lot of kids and teens, healthy or otherwise, feel helpless right now. Since I have lung disease, I can’t get out on the front line and help in ways I’ve seen others give back, like volunteering at the food pantry or shopping for neighbors. One thing I’ve been doing that helps me give back, and alleviates that “helpless” feeling, is using my knack for sewing to donate hand sewn masks to essential workers. So far, I have sewn 500 masks to donate to all sorts of workers in my community, including pharmacists, broadcast journalists, grocery store workers, day care workers, nurses, and therapists.

If you want to make face masks for yourself or others, I put together a video of how you can do it in your own home with items you may already have on hand.

To learn more about living with asthma during COVID-19, there are several resources from RHA including tips for managing your asthma. If you are interested in joining me as a lung health advocate, click here!

Jen Runs to Be Part of Something Powerful

Written by Amanda Sabino

Jen Dorval admits her running background is not the most extensive. But for Jen, running with Respiratory Health Association’s Lung Power Team in the Chicago Marathon is about more than just the race. It’s to honor her sister, Dee, who passed away four years ago due to chronic asthma.

two young sisters sit next to each other

Dee (left) and Jen

“Her goal was to run a 5k,” Jen says. “That was so sad to me because all she wanted was to run three miles…that is what kick-started me into running. If I can run a marathon for her, I’m going to do it.”

Growing up in Massachusetts, the fun-loving and outgoing sisters had many similarities – including living with asthma. Jen’s case was mild, but Dee’s caused her to miss school and visit the hospital frequently. That didn’t stop her from making an impression on everyone. She was particularly talented in the sciences, and when Jen encountered her older sister’s teachers years later, they all had a clear memory of her.

“She was in your face and did not care,” Jen says while laughing. “She had no filter whatsoever. If she were thinking it, it would come right out of her mouth!”

The sisters were both skilled swimmers, but Dee’s asthma eventually prevented her from continuing with the sport. She was fortunate the hospital was close to both home and school, which allowed her to quickly get care during frequent asthma episodes. The family still hoped that newer procedures would allow Dee to manage her asthma at home more often.

Dee and Jen with their mom

As this became more difficult, and the list of the activities she could no longer participate in grew longer, she considered a bronchial thermoplasty – an asthma treatment that heats and reduces the amount of smooth muscle in your airway wall. As a result, the immune system no longer tells the throat to constrict when triggered, making it easier to breathe. Unfortunately, due to her health, Dee was not a candidate for the procedure.

High-spirited and persistent despite this setback, Dee shifted her goals to new destinations. During Jen’s senior year in high school, Dee moved to sunny Florida. She felt that the milder climate would make it easier to manage her asthma triggers. Not only did her grandparents live there, but she met her fiancé and had her daughter Olivia, who she called Liv. Dee’s pregnancy was high-risk, and during the birth Liv suffered a stroke –which resulted in cerebral palsy that affected the left side of her body.

“Dee was a tireless advocate for Liv and made sure she got all of the therapies she needed,” Jen remembers. “She would have that girl in therapy all day to make sure she got the best care.”

As Dee settled into Florida life with her fiancé and daughter, her breathing struggles continued. Her oxygen levels were frequently low. Any time her levels were close to average, she would jokingly tell her sister how well she could breathe. Though they kept their conversations lighthearted, it illuminated a constant that had followed Dee throughout her life – she was not getting the oxygen needed to live comfortably.

On December 23, 2016, Dee woke up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe. Knowing she was in the middle of an asthma episode, her fiancé called the ambulance.

Jen and Liv

The resulting brain damage was too much for her to overcome, and she passed on Christmas Eve. Her family returned to Massachusetts – her final resting place – for a celebration of life. Loved ones drove through a giant snowstorm to attend the funeral – and Jen reflects a mischievous Dee would have enjoyed putting them through one last challenge.

“So many people like me, and they all drove through the snow for this?” she imagines Dee saying cheerfully.

Dee’s memory lives on in her daughter and family members like Jen, who carry her spirit and energy. Olivia also lives with asthma, and together with Jen, they run for a better future—one where even those living with the most severe cases of asthma can receive the care necessary to improve quality of life. To help support research, education and advocacy around asthma and other lung diseases, contribute to Jen’s Lung Power Team campaign.

We Teamed Up With Fleet Feet and On to Give Back to Front-Line Healthcare Workers

Fleet Feet, Respiratory Health Association deliver 250 pairs of On running shoes to Chicago front-line medical workers

Donation provides comfort to staff at three area hospitals during COVID-19 response

CHICAGO, IL, May 06, 2020 – Fleet Feet, a leading retailer of athletic footwear and apparel; Respiratory Health Association, Chicago’s local lung health nonprofit; and On, innovators in shoe design technology, have teamed up to deliver more than 250 pairs of running shoes to front-line healthcare workers.

Shoes were delivered to healthcare staff at Northwestern Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, and Loyola Medical Center this week. The deliveries coincided with the start of National Nurses Week and Nurse Appreciation Month.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the generous donation from On and collaboration with Fleet Feet that we hope provides some measure of comfort to medical staff in Chicago,” says Joel Africk, President & CEO, Respiratory Health Association. “We have to do everything we can to face this crisis as a united community, and this is a great example of everyone chipping in.”

“The medical profession is being asked to do more now than it ever has in our recent history. If they are doing more, we can do more to support them,” says Dave Zimmer, Owner, Fleet Feet. “We are fortunate to be working with On to provide footwear to hardworking respiratory therapists, doctors and nurses at local hospitals.”

“We are deeply appreciative of our medical heroes in Chicago and across the world as they continue the fight against COVID-19,” says Britt Olsen, On’s GM of North America. “They are risking their lives every day on the frontlines of this crisis and at On we felt the least we could do is help provide comfortable footwear during the many hours they’re spending on their feet. We also owe a huge thanks to Fleet Feet for collaborating with us in this donation process.”

Since 1906, Respiratory Health Association has helped address Chicago’s greatest lung health challenges – from tuberculosis and influenza to asthma and lung cancer. COVID-19 is the latest challenge. Respiratory Health Association empowers patients and protects the most vulnerable through education, advocacy and research.

Fleet Feet has been a sponsor of Respiratory Health Association’s annual Hustle Chicago® stair climb for more than twenty years. The event is held each February and has raised more than $17 million to support the local fight against lung disease.

Fleet Feet is committed to finding shoes with the perfect fit for runners, walkers, fitness enthusiasts—and now medical professionals—across Chicagoland.