Mom’s Story Unites Advocates and Authors for Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

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A Brooklyn mom of a son with severe allergies is one of the “everyday advocates” found in “Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference,” a new guide for advocates and spokespersons. In May, the book’s authors are partnering with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference | Essential Skills for Advocates and Spokespersons
What I really wanted to do as I told this story was bring them into that cab with me, to share the moment of nearly losing my child.

Sitting with other parents in the library of her son’s Brooklyn grade school, Theresa Greenleaf calmly tells what it’s like being the mom of a kid with food allergies, how appreciative she is of the school’s support and how, even with vigilance, scary things happen. Like the night her son suffered a severe allergic reaction and collapsed in the cab on the way to the doctor. “What I really wanted to do as I told this story was bring them into that cab with me,” she remembers. “To share the moment of nearly losing my child.”

As millions of people do each day, Theresa told a personal story in the hopes of bringing about positive change—in this case, to help convince other parents to comply with school policies regarding allergens in packed lunches. Theresa is an example of “everyday advocacy” and her story is featured in "Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference" a new step-by-step guide that teaches readers how to prepare and share life stories to engage audiences, raise awareness, change behaviors and fundraise. The book is written by John Capecci and Timothy Cage, communication professionals who’ve helped thousands of advocates and hundreds of organizations share their stories.

For the month of May—National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month—the authors are partnering with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to help raise awareness and improve the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies.

“Improving quality of life is central to our mission and a key reason why people support our Foundation,” says AAFA spokesperson Sanaz Eftekhari. “This book can really help patients find their voices and tell their stories better.”

According to co-author Capecci, “Theresa is a great example of effective advocacy because she links a personal experience to clear messages. It’s not a story told only for dramatic effect—it’s an opportunity to connect meaningfully with her audience and support important points.”

“Living Proof” features practical how-tos, inspirational guidance, and real-life stories from advocates from all walks of life who are striving to advocate for the causes most important to them, including:

Loren Vaillancourt, former Miss South Dakota, who, after her brother was killed in an accident involving a distracted driver, became a national advocate for stricter driving laws.

Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, who tells his story of transformation to gain support for bringing clean water to developing nations.

Kathy Kastan, a woman with heart disease who shares her story to raise awareness of the number one killer of women in the U.S.

“We’re fortunate to meet an incredible variety of passionate advocates and organizations and are privileged to learn of their causes—like the one shared by Theresa and AAFA,” says co-author Cage.

Through their Action Network, AAFA shares the stories of the one in five Americans suffering from allergies and the over 24 million living with asthma.

To learn more, visit livingproofadvocacy.com and aafa.org.

About AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is a not-for-profit organization. It is the premier patient group dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies through education, advocacy and research. For more asthma and allergy statistics or support, visit http://www.aafa.org or call 1-800-7-ASTHMA

About "Living Proof"

"Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference" is distributed nationally by Itasca Books ($21.95, softcover, 212 pages, 6” x 9”. ISBN 978-0-9838703-0-2 Granville Circle Press). It is available at independent booksellers, major online bookstores and directly from Itasca Books. Quantity discounts available. Authors John Capecci and Timothy Cage have offices in Minneapolis and New York. They work with a wide range of clients, from "ordinary" people, grassroots activists and first-time speakers, to CEOs, entrepreneurs and some of the best-known celebrities, media personalities and professional speakers in the world.

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