On April 5, 2008 the American Lung Association of Arizona and the City of Phoenix will unite in its annual walk to raise money to help ease the suffering of over 24 million Americans who have asthma.
Although asthma is the leading chronic illness among children in the U.S. causing more than 5,000 deaths and over 14 million missed school days each year, it rarely gets the celebrity press other, less common, afflictions receive. Most people do not know that asthma is one of the largest chronic illnesses with the least amount of attention.
In 2006, AdamsWW, Inc., manufacturers of a unique line of fishing safety hook keepers known as The CATCH “Magnetic” Safety Hook Keeper's, joined the Phoenix asthma walk.
Bill and Barbara Adams own the company that makes The CATCH products. These devices were developed to protect anglers from being accidentally injured by their fish hooks while carrying or storing rods, and the Adams, along with a small band of 18 supporters known as " Jenny's Crew " , raised over $2,000 for the 2006 walk and over $3,000 for the 2007 walk.
The "Jenny" of Jenny's Crew was Jennifer Kate Adams, Bill and Barbara's daughter, who passed in 2002 after battling severe asthma for years.
And battle she did.
For those who knew her, Jenny's life was not a compilation of cold facts. Yes, she beat the odds when her doctors said she would not make it past the age of three (she lived to be 21). Yes, she loved butterflies. Monarchs were her favorite. Yes, she brought great joy to her parents, her older sister, Michele, and all others who knew her.
But Jenny was also a collection of warm, private moments and courage as she battled through her years of suffering. Her eyes spoke of kindness and her smile hid her pain.
"She was sensitive," her mother revealed in a recent interview. "She never let a lot of her friends know how sick she was. We think she was better to her friends than she was to herself."
Although Jenny missed an average of a quarter of each school year because of her illness, she still maintained a 4.0 average.
"I am a caring girl who loves to hear laughter," she wrote in a poem when she was 13. But Jenny felt the weight of her own mortality. The poem also held this line, "I worry that I won't get into Stanford because my asthma will get worse."
During the last six weeks of her life, Jenny was employed by Sam's Club. A testimony to how she impacted on the lives of those who knew her was demonstrated on the day of her memorial service when it took three other Sam's Clubs to provide enough employees to fill in for all those who wanted to miss work so they could say goodbye to Jenny.
But Jenny is not gone. Her love lives on in the strength her parents drew from her as they continue in their efforts to defeat the illness that took her life.
In addition to the money raised by Jenny's Crew at the Phoenix walk, Bill and Barbara donate a portion of income they receive from each sale of The CATCH products.
Anyone interested in donating to asthma research through Jenny's Crew can reach Bill and Barbara by clicking the "contact us" button on all our pages or of course through purchasing The CATCH. The next asthma walk takes place April 5, 2008. The Adams accepts donations of any size. Checks should be made out to the American Lung Association of Arizona . Please contact us for more information where to mail checks.