Lynette De Michiel

"I am an asthma sufferer and have been since I was 18 months old. As you can imagine it was a worrying time for my parents, who lived in country NSW. Treatment for asthmatics in the 1940s was, compared to now, very rudimentary as asthma was not well understood. Much of my childhood was spent in hospital or sleeping in the doctor’s surgery overnight when I had a severe attack. On some occasions the GP met us half way with an adrenaline injection, then we followed him back to town where Mum and I slept in the surgery. Mum had the lovely hard examination bed and the doctor pulled a large lounge chair in the surgery for me. All asthmatics will understand, you cannot lean back, you want to lean forward and sit up as high as you can to breathe.

My curiosity and compassion for sick people started with my frequent hospital visits as a patient. This sparked a desire to help others and become a nurse. That was not so easy, as in the 1960s no major city teaching hospital would employ you as a trainee nurse, just because you had asthma. Fortunately the school doctor at my boarding school helped me get into a larger teaching hospital in the country, near school. So commenced my four year training, despite many telling me I would never finish! That was a red flag to a bull and I was determined I would finish. It did take me longer as I had many nights spent in hospital. Sometimes coming off duty, I had to be admitted overnight with intravenous meds. I would then get up next morning to go back on duty. BUT I DID IT!

I am the lucky recipient of many generous patients who have given their time for researchers to study asthma in order to understand the disease and hence improve medication. I have participated myself.

Without these wonderful, dedicated researchers so much would still not be understood about asthma. It is vital to support this cause. That is why I donate to the Woolcock Institute. We benefit from their work."