Orchettes….Seems like an Orchestra to Me!

Nancy Sanker Health Guide
  • When I received accepted an invitation to attend an Orchettes Civic Club meeting in Newnan, Georgia, to accept donations for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) I took a minute to do some serious wondering. Orchettes….is that short for Orchestra? Or Southern shorthand for something great to eat that I haven’t discovered? In the end, it really didn’t matter. It was all about a group of compassionate individuals who are nominated to gather, become enlightened and then make a difference. They realize the latest statistics indicate it is roll-up-your-sleeves time to change the way asthma is having its way with us.

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    On that Saturday morning when we all met over a breakfast that you swear is going to be your ONLY meal of the day, I told the Orchettes that the Atlanta area is the Asthma Capital of the country. Who likes to be singled out for that kind of distinction? This year it’s a crown that we Atlantans unhappily wear, but maybe it is just what we need to challenge us to do better.


    Every year AAFA selects an Asthma Capital based on 12 factors in three different categories including:


    Prevalence factors including morbidity and mortality or…. the number of people who have asthma and the number who die from it.


    Risk factors which include air quality, length of pollen season, smoking laws in public places, poverty levels and the number of individuals with no health insurance.


    Medical factors which are based on medication usage (number of long term control and quick relief inhalers used), access to allergy specialists and student access to inhalers in school.


    We’re all hoping we topple off the top of that list. But statistics for the entire country are equally grim:


    • Over 20 million people in America live with asthma, making it one of the most costly and common diseases.


    • Annually 4 thousand people die of it.


    • 14 million school days are missed per year.


    • There are over 14 million missed work days a year.


    • $14 BILLION are spent in annual medical costs and indirect costs each year.


    Even in the midst of eating our Southern sweet rolls that sounded like one sour number after another. What hurts me is that much of the money spent and the suffering families endure is unnecessary.


    Do you have asthma or know someone who does? Please help yourself and others. If sleep, work or play is affected, see a physician, communicate clearly and listen completely. I would like to raise your expectations! Life w/ asthma is not about compromise.


    The Orchettes have nothing to do with an orchestra, but their voices were like music to my ears. They listened to the needs of individuals struggling with asthma and collectively “spoke up” to make a difference. I was humbled as I said, “Thank you.”






Published On: April 03, 2007