In January 2020 – the summer of bushfires. Alison was stuck inside for days to avoid the smoke that blanketed much of the country.
“After New Year’s Day, my husband opened the door to go to work. It let enough smoke into the house to trigger my asthma,” said Alison.
Alison was colouring on the floor with her seven-year-old son Lincoln. She started coughing, took her asthma medicine, but it wasn’t enough this time and she collapsed on the kitchen floor.
Alison stopped breathing from a severe asthma attack.
“I remember thinking, ‘we’re on our own. I’ve got to wait until someone gets here. I can’t die now; I can’t die in front of Lincoln. It was heart-breaking to know he was there by himself,” said Alison.
Lincoln made a life-saving call to 000 and Alison was taken to hospital. If not for Lincoln’s brave actions, she probably wouldn’t have made it.
And sadly, many didn’t. The 2019/2020 bushfires claimed 417 deaths from bushfire smoke across several states and territories. That’s why we need to help people protect themselves against toxic air pollution.
Asthma Australia has made an app called AirSmart. It’s designed to send local air quality information in real time. The app will help people be more aware of bushfire smoke and make smart choices to protect their health.
We tested the AirSmart campaign and app in key regional areas last year – and it was a great success! It’s now time to raise enough funds to make the app and public health campaign available across the country.
Everyone deserves to breathe clean air. We can’t afford to wait for another air pollution disaster to strike. Please give now to help save lives.
Asthma Australia would like to thank Alison for sharing her story as a part of the Asthma Champion Program. Thank you for being a voice for people with asthma. Do you have a story to tell? Become an Asthma Champion.
Reference: Borchers et al 2020, Unprecedented smoke-related health burden associated with the 2019-20 bushfires in eastern Australia, Medical Journal of Australia. Doi: 10.5694/mja2.50545