Claire McCutcheon, BC
Caregiver for Daughter who has Asthma
“My daughter was diagnosed with asthma as a baby and now, at 16 years old, we are hard-pressed to find any part of her life that is not negatively impacted by her asthma. She has multiple significant episodes per year, and usually at least one hospitalization. As a result, she has missed at least a month of school every year – requiring her to have an Individual Education Plan signed by the school district to help accommodate her absences. Her time away from school impacts her social life as well”.
“I hear my friends talk about their kids dreams – backpacking across Europe, moving to another country or to a remote location – and I know these aren’t options for [my daughter]. I can’t even let her vacation with friends, and our family holidays are usually limited to staying within the country and within vicinity of a hospital.”
“One of the hardest things for us is the complete lack of understanding from the general community. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has told me ‘well – it’s just asthma’ or ‘why are you worried – they’re going to outgrow it’. I have two friends with kids who have gone through 18 month treatment plans for cancer who admit that Charlotte, my daughter, has spent more time in hospital and has taken more medication than their kids – but gets none of the sympathy and understanding. Not that I would wish cancer on anyone – but honestly, I would prefer to put her through that kind of treatment if we had a high percentage chance of full remission that these kids have been fortunate enough to have”.