Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based international medical relief agency, has announced the launch of Breathe Hope, the first national campaign to collect used but still useable electric nebulizers (breathing machines) in the United States for donation to asthma sufferers - particularly children -- in Central and South America and the Caribbean who do not have easy access to breathing treatments.
Nebulizers also will be donated to American Lung Association chapters for donation to uninsured/underinsured children and seniors in the United States.
The first community collection date in Pittsburgh takes place June 3, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Assumption Church Rectory, located at 45 North Sprague Ave. in Bellevue.
Nebulizers are used to treat asthma, a chronic disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates currently affects 235 million people worldwide. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children, and most asthma-related deaths occur in limited-resource communities where access to breathing treatments and emergency medical care is limited.
"Assumption School is located in Bellevue, a poor air quality neighborhood in Pittsburgh, and our students are all-too familiar with managing asthma," says Mary Ann Miller, principal, Assumption School. "We are proud to spearhead the effort in the North Boroughs to keep potentially life-saving machines from disposal so that others may be helped."
"In rural or remote communities in many of the countries we serve, parents must walk for miles with their children in their arms to reach a nebulizing station for treatment," adds Global Links deputy director Angela Garcia. "When they do arrive, their children must wait their turn as one or two machines will often serve the needs of an entire community. Any parent who has been through the traumatic experience of an asthmatic child in respiratory distress can relate to how frightening this can be, and how dangerous."
Until now, parents and families in the U.S. whose children and loved ones have graduated to using an inhaler and/or who no longer require breathing treatments have had few choices other than discarding or indefinitely storing their nebulizer as U.S. medical and manufacturer regulations do not allow the machines to be returned. The Breathe Hope campaign makes it possible for these simple, still useable, life-saving devices to be shared.
The tax-deductible donation of nebulizers is simple. Individuals simply box and mail their nebulizer to Global Links, where a team of staff and volunteers inspect, clean and pack them for shipment to clinics and hospitals in South and Central America and the Caribbean that have specifically identified a need for these machines.
Global Links accepts all electric nebulizers as long as they are in working condition (no battery-operated models). Extra, unused filters, masks and breathing sets are also needed. Donations can be mailed directly at any time to: Global Links, 700 Trumbull Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15205