February 2012

Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago's e-newsletter is published monthly and contains news of our happenings, program updates and links to lung health resources.

This month's issue includes:

To receive our monthly e-newsletter, send an email to info@lungchicago.org.

Cleaning the air at Union Station

On January 6, Respiratory Health Association President and CEO Joel Africk spoke at a press conference held by Senator Durbin to recognize Metra and Amtrak's efforts to reduce harmful pollution from diesel trains, and to call for further action to clean the station.

Since the Chicago Tribune investigation in November 2010, Metra has limited locomotive idling, begun using cleaner fuel and better rail car air filters and successfully applied for technology grants to reduce locomotive pollution. Amtrak has begun to replace older locomotives with new ones that emit 90 percent less harmful soot starting in 2015.

Still, the owner of the Central Chicago Post Office has not been consistently running the ventilation fans at Union Station, and Amtrak has filed a lawsuit that asks a judge to mandate that the building owner fix and use all ventilation fans.

Learn more from stories by WBEZ, NBC Chicago and The Chicago Sun-Times.

Enacting policies for CPS students' health

At their meeting on January 26, Chicago Public School Board of Education approved two new policies supported by Respiratory Health Association. First, they approved Dr. Stephanie Whyte as the Chief Health Officer, a new position in the schools. Through our Stakeholders Collaboration to Improve Student Health, we advocated in support of the position to ensure that student health and wellness were priorities across the city.

The board also approved a new asthma-specific policy that will increase awareness and support of students with asthma. The policy:
  • brings CPS into compliance with a state law that permits students to carry their inhalers without a note from a physician, instead requiring a note from a parent and an original prescription label
  • mandates that all staff who interact with children will be trained on asthma management every two years
  • puts steps into place for to require schools to offer to develop a 504 plan for students with asthma and an optional Asthma Action Plan*, a written document created with a health care provider to detail a child's triggers, warning signs, medications and emergency contacts
  • creates a general Asthma Action Plan to cover students who do not have either a 504 or their own Asthma Action Plan on file

*Read more and download an Asthma Action Plan on our asthma pages

Running for the cause

General registration for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon closed in record time on Monday, February 6. If you're looking for a spot, join Lung Power Team to run in honor of a loved one affected by lung disease. We run to raise awareness and funds for clean air, asthma and lung cancer, and as a part of our team you'll receive free training and other perks. You can also join us if you're already registered for the marathon but want to support our mission!

Visit the official Lung Power Team site for more information or to register. 

Climbing for her dad

Jamie Miller's last memory of her father riding a bike is bittersweet. It was during her family's vacation at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in May of 2010, and her dad was determined to pedal through the sand despite his deteriorating lung capacity. Jamie and her brother followed, assisting him.

"It was almost like helping someone learn how to ride a bike again," Jamie said. "We held onto his seat and pushed as he pedaled."

Her father passed away later that summer, and as a new Chicago resident, Jamie is climbing Hustle Up the Hancock in his memory.

Read more of her story and other climbers' stories

Get involved: Support a Hustle climber

For our 15th annual Hustle Up the Hancock, and we're we've set a fundraising goal of $1.1 million to support our local lung disease research and programs. Our 4,000 climbers have already raised more than $829,000, but we could use your help!

Support a climber now!