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Scera Park Elementary visited by Miss Utah USA, Kendyl Bell

OREM, UTAH (May 1, 2012) -- In conjunction with World Asthma Day, Blue Balloon Day was created to encourage environments where everyone can breath clean air and have healthy lungs. It was created by Kendyl Bell, 2012 Miss Utah USA, who as an active teenager in drill and dance teams wondered why she found physical demands challenging until she was diagnosed with asthma.

This happened one day after a long, hard drill practice. Bell found she couldn't catch a breath. When she collapsed, she was rushed to the emergency room where the doctor told her she had asthma. "This was a very scary wake up call," said Bell. "But it was also a relief for me and my family to finally have an explanation for the breathing struggles I had experienced my whole life."

Although advised by the doctor to quit the drill team, Bell decided she wasn't going to let the disease rule her life. Besides working with her doctor to develop a maintenance plan that would allow her to continue with her active lifestyle, Bell began work educating others about asthma. She first worked with the American Lung Association in Utah, and then worked to have Governor Jon Huntsman to declare May 1st as Blue Balloon Day in Utah. The day is dedicated to health lungs, and encourages elementary schools to unite as students pledge to stay tobacco free, keep their air clean and keep their lungs healthy.

Today she joined representatives from the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) and American Lung Association at Scera Park Elementary for an assemble event. "The kids are always so much fun," said Bell. "Together we really can make a difference, and I love seeing their enthusiasm."

Bell speaking

UCHD Health Educator Andrea Jensen has asthma herself as well as her three kids. "You really can do much of the same things as everyone else," said Jensen. "Knowing what your triggers are, and how to deal with them, are important. Having a maintenance plan is really the key to controlling the disease, rather than letting it control you." She said the goal of the event was to educate kids about asthma, but also how they can keep their lungs healthy through good choices.

Bell teaching Zumba to kids

Bell with members of OUTRAGE

The Utah County Health Department is committed to promoting the health of our community, preventing avoidable disease and injury by monitoring the health of our community, and assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. For information on UCHD programs or services, please visit www.UtahCountyHealth.org or call 801-851-7000. You can also now follow the UCHD on at www.twitter.com/uchd or www. FaceBook.com/uchealth. Jensen also authors a blog, http://asthmamomlife.blogspot.com, where people can get more information.


Kendyl Bell speaking at Scera Elementary (hi res)

Kendyl Bell speaking at Scera Elementary (web)

Kendyl Bell teaching Scera Elementary kids Zumba (hi res)

Kendyl Bell teaching Scera Elementary kids Zumba (web)

Kendyl Bell with OUTRAGE (hi res)

Kendyl Bell with OUTRAGE (web)