Our ambassadors share our vision of creating a safer world for people with asthma.
Clare-Louise Brumley posted Australia’s best ever female cross-country ski performance at an Olympic Games in Torino 2006. She also suffers from exercise induced asthma. Managing her asthma was one of the most crucial components of her success in the sport.
Cross country skiing is potentially a difficult sport for someone with asthma. From her personal perspective, she was once considered to have severe exercise induced asthma to the extent that it stopped her from competing as a junior. After some serious work in learning how to manage the condition it was no longer such an obstacle.
The most recognised theory on the cause of exercise induced asthma is that increased ventilation rate leads to rapid drying of the upper airways and triggers broncho-constriction. Hence, the harder one breathes, and the colder and drier the air, the risk of exercise induced asthma increases. This combination of conditions is inherently part of cross country skiing.
Along with medication management (both preventative and reliever) she also used several lifestyle strategies. Working on overall health was very important via optimal nutrition, adequate sleep and stress management. An underlying viral infection or compromised immune system makes asthma symptoms so much worse. Her other significant management tool was the use of a mask to warm and humidify inhaled air (see photo). While attracting at times unwelcomed attention, its benefits were immense as it reduced her major trigger - cold, dry air.
Clare-Louise retired from the national team in 2007 and went on to complete her PhD in integrative medicine. She is now a practising psychotherapist specialising in integrative mental health and other health issues including asthma management. She is expecting her first baby in December 2012 and lives in Melbourne with her partner.
Elli Johnston is the daughter of former AFL footballer Wayne Johnston. Elli is based in Melbourne and has modelled with many national and international companies. She also works in Property Development. Elli sadly lost her brother in 1999 to asthma and her life has never been the same since. She describes his death as 'being thrown the biggest curve ball in life'.
Elli has been a part of our ambassador team since 2010 and is passionate about advocating for asthma education. She believes that if she could create awareness about The Asthma Foundation of Victoria and the work that we do, it would give her great satisfaction. She believes that it is imperative that people know about the triggers, diagnosis, management and prevention of asthma. This is what can save lives and what is most important to Elli.