Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics
Nancy Sander didn’t know that the newsletter she wrote during her daughter’s early struggles with asthma and allergies would one day lead her to Capitol Hill. She simply knew that she had to spread the word about proper asthma and allergy control to other families in desperate need of this invaluable information. That newsletter, "The M.A. Report: A Monthly Report in Support of Mothers of Asthmatics," quickly grew from a handout in her doctor’s waiting room to a nationally recognized publication, and was the impetus for what would become the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA).
Launched in 1985 by Nancy, AANMA is now an international network of families determined to overcome asthma and allergies rather than simply cope with them. AANMA is comprised of thirteen staff members and seventy outreach service coordinator volunteers who offer support and practical strategies in twenty states. AANMA is dedicated to eliminating suffering and death due to asthma, allergies and related conditions through education, advocacy and community outreach.
Most of the miracles that the organization accomplishes are directed at individual families, but sometimes Nancy finds it necessary to focus energies where they can serve a collective benefit. Indeed, her determination led to the passage of the Asthmatic Schoolchildren’s Treatment and Health Management Act of 2004, one of the last bills President George Bush signed before being reelected. It offers funding preference to states whose laws protect the rights of children to carry lifesaving asthma and anaphylaxis medications at school.
Above all, Nancy and AANMA give hope and strategies to parents who thought they would have to struggle with their children’s illness alone. Nancy’s goal is to see the day when the diagnosis of asthma is given the same serious consideration as cardiac or brain concerns. "Lungs are just as vital," she says. Not surprisingly, she is undaunted by the size and scope of this goal.