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Local woman racing in Ironman for all the people who cannot | News

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Local woman racing in Ironman for all the people who cannot
Local woman racing in Ironman for all the people who cannot

Some do the Coeur d'Alene Ironman for fun. Others do it for exercise. But one local woman is doing it because she can and she wants to make a difference.

Cathy Stephens was 19 years old the first time her lung collapsed due to an asthma attack. She said it's hard to imagine how an asthma attack feels.

"Imagine being at the bottom of a lake and swimming toward the top for air, but the distance is longer than you thought," wrote Stephens on her website. "Finally you surface and gasp for a breath, only to be shoved back under over and over again, and you don’t know when it’s going to stop."

During one of the many times she was in the hospital for an asthma attack, she said she thought she was going to die. She remembers thinking of all the things she would do if she could. A triathlon was at the top of the list. 

18 years later, she did it. She completed her first long-distance triathlon. She experienced a complete change in her lungs, allowing her to do what she thought she never could.

Every so often, the asthma will get the best of her...but she doesn't let it win.

She will race in this year's Coeur d'Alene Ironman not only because she can, but for all the people who cannot. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 40,000 people miss school or work every year because of their asthma. 30,000 people experience that terrible feeling of "suffication underwater", like Stephens did. And asthma takes the lives of 11 people. Every. Single. Year.

Stephens wants that to end, so she's raising funds for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America through the Ironman Foundation. She has currently raised over $1,500, but her goal is to triple that by the time the race rolls around. If you'd like to help her out and donation, visit her website

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