By Aria Ellise –blackdoctor.org
The Tony Award winning singer and actress Anika Noni Rose is pretty busy nowadays. But even her schedule on Broadway and Hollywood doesn’t stop her – not even her asthma. The star of hit films like Dreamgirls and Disney’s The Princess and the Frog joined the American Lung Association to share her story and speak out for those with asthma.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases among children, affecting some seven million kids in America. But it can also strike adults. Anika was one of them, and she remembers it well.
“It was my last year in grad school. I couldn’t stop coughing, and couldn’t clear my chest. I had several courses of antibiotics, but to no avail,” Anika explained. “I had a performance where I sang a song that I’d been singing for some time and was completely off pitch, losing my breath and embarrassed. By the end of the night I had no voice left.”
“I went back to the doctor and was shocked when he told me that I ‘may have asthma.’ A second opinion and an allergy test confirmed that I had asthma, and was allergic to cats, dust mites and some types of trees,” she said.
Anika still had doubts. She thought asthma only happened to children, and had always lived around cats without any allergic reaction. But the reality of her condition soon hit home, in a very personal way.
“I didn’t believe the doctor. Then one day I was sitting in my living room and I kept hearing this high-pitched whistle – one of those background noises that can drive you batty! I went around the house checking the stove, the heater and even turned off the TV. I finally realized it was me. It was my chest whistling! That was the beginning of my journey with asthma, which attacks the very thing that makes my living – my voice, my air.”
For more information on how to fight asthma, click here.