One Woman’s Run Exemplifies for Mother’s Battle with COPD
On May 6th, Christina Vella is running a marathon in honor of her late mother, Rosalie Vella. For Christina, the run symbolizes her mother’s struggle with COPD.
“I run this event because every day my mom struggled for air and the 26.2 miles that I am huffing and puffing doesn’t even compare to what she went through in her last few days. I have also been interested in physical fitness and my mom always thought I was crazy [for doing it], so I know she would be shaking her head saying, ‘Your nuts doing this for me!’”
Christina describes Rosalieas loving, compassionate, funny, and hostess to countless family gatherings.
“My favorite memory would be of any family gathering that we would have at my parents’ house and my mom serving her famous spaghetti and meatballs. No one would ever come to my house without my mom shoving food in their face or asking if they wanted a sandwich,” she recalls.
“She was my best friend. Her laugh was contagious. She was such a tiny person but her personality and her spirit would light up a room. When she got really sick, it was never about her and her sickness, she always downplayed how badly she felt [because she didn't want me to] worry about her so much.”
Rosalie was diagnosed with COPD in her 50s. A visit to the pulmonologist and a chest x-ray later, she learned she had COPD.
Christina says as the years progresses, she saw her mom’s health deteriorate.
“After my mom was diagnosed with COPD, it progressively got worse. Her hospital stays became more frequent. She tried physical therapy, which seemed to help her but even while performing the littlest of tasks she would become winded and have to sit down and rest. My mom was in her 60s, but the disease made her seem so much older,” she says.
COPD affected Rosalie physically and mentally.
“She became very depressed and we often encouraged her to join a COPD support group but she was ashamed of the disease since smoking for so many years ultimately led to her diagnosis.”
“This disease took the matriarch of our family. She is missing her grandchildren growing up and that kills me. This disease made me so aware of the dangers of smoking. It makes me want to help other people living with this disease. I would love to see more research done on easing symptoms and finding a cure.”
COPD research and a cure are reasons why Christina made running an opportunity to raise money for the disease.
“I want to see money going towards a cure. It is very easy to be involved with fundraising. Thankfully, my friends, family, and my co-workers are so supportive of me. My mom touched a lot of people’s lives and it brings me so much happiness to see how supportive they are of this cause.”
Inspired by Christina’s story? Please visit the COPD Foundation’s first giving page and create your own fundraising project!
Remember, what you do today can help others breathe better tomorrow!