Running to prevent lung disease

In November, I’m running in my very first race: the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air 5K. I’ve participated in many 5K events–most often as a walker, where I’ve been known to finish dead last–but never as a runner. But this race is different. I chose this particular race as my inaugural run because the American Lung Association’s mission is my mission: improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

I have asthma, and I work in wind energy.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that asthma is a “serious health and economic concern” in the U.S. It’s:

·      Common (1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children have it);

·      Expensive (asthma costs the U.S. $56 billion each year);

·      Debilitating (each year, children miss more than 10 million school days, and adults miss more than 14 million work days); and

·      Deadly (about 9 people die from asthma each day).

Air quality plays a significant role in lung disease and the severity of asthma symptoms, and so it plays a significant role in my life and work. According to the CDC, air pollution in the U.S. “poses a public health threat affecting potentially millions of people throughout the country.” It is associated with not only asthma, but other health problems including heart problems, pneumonia, and bronchitis. At the American Wind Energy Association, I support tens of thousands of workers in an industry that generates clean, reliable, affordable, renewable wind power; wind turbine-generated electricity doesn't dirty our air, or emit pollutants like other energy sources. My job is good and gratifying – I sleep well at night (and breathe a little easier, too).

Last year alone, the wind turbines installed across America, by displacing electricity generation from fossil fuels, kept 87,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide (which causes acid rain and air pollution) and 61,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (which cause smog) out of the air we breathe.
As for the race, I’m a bit nervous (3.1 miles is a long run for someone who has never even run to catch a bus – let alone surrounded by other real “runners” and with a numbered bib on my chest). So in preparation, I refilled all my inhaler prescriptions, bought a new pair of running shoes, and downloaded the “Map My Run” app. Just the other day, at t-minus 100 days, I started training … and so far, I’m doing all right. It's a real challenge, but I'm stoked.

If you’d like to support my run and the American Lung Association, please visit my race page. Your monetary donation will help provide lung disease management education to children, and generate the awareness needed to increase resources for advanced research projects. You can also improve air quality by supporting the wind energy industry by becoming a Wind Power Advocate through AWEA’s Power of Wind.

Thank you for supporting me, wind energy, and the American Lung Association.

Renee Flowers
Marketing Manager, AWEA

Photo credit: Siemens Press Photo


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