Air We Breath Campaign Story

A Campaign to Promote the new LAM Treatment Guidelines and Educate Physicians About LAM

My name is Laura Bowers, and on December 23 of 2013, I was diagnosed with LAM. It was just a few months following my 40th birthday, my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, and the start of my first semester of pharmacy school at the University of North Carolina.

I originally decided to return to school at age 40, after years of teaching, because I was passionate about education and thought I could help empower patients to actively engage in their own health care. Little did I know when I made this career leap, that I would soon learn first-hand what it’s like to be the newly diagnosed, terrified patient. I was devastated to learn that I may not live to see my daughter grow up, and I was frightened of the life-saving medical interventions that were now a part of my daily life.

Then I discovered The LAM Foundation. I talked with fellow LAM patients – “Lammies” as we refer to ourselves – and I went to my first LAMposium conference. I discovered there was so much hope among this amazing community of women working to lift each other up and to help the foundation find a cure. I knew that I wanted to contribute, but I wasn’t sure at first how exactly I could make a difference.

At the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, I became involved with a professional fraternity for pharmacists called Kappa Epsilon (KE). My pharmacy school friends and KE sisters and brothers came up with the idea to launch the Balloon Challenge. Read more about that here:

The response from family, friends and even complete strangers was overwhelming – and I realized I could do more to raise awareness for LAM. I realized that as a pharmacist, I would be uniquely positioned to educate both patients and physicians about best practices in healthcare.

I spoke to the Eshelman Institute for Innovation at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and The LAM Foundation about creating a campaign to educate Emergency Room physicians and Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as these are the typically the first health care providers to witness women’s symptoms. I wanted to produce a non-traditional, innovative approach to promoting the new set of clinical guidelines from American Thoracic Society and the Japanese Respiratory Society.

With generous funding from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation and in-kind donations from The LAM Foundation, I approached two fellow UNC-graduates who work in marketing, Jennifer Padgett and Heather Phibbs, as well as public relations professional Elizabeth Roth and together, we produced The Air We Breathe Campaign.

We hope this campaign will bring earlier diagnosis and treatment to more women, so that they can live longer, healthier lives.

Campaign Credits: 

Creative Direction / Art & Design:
Jenn Padgett Hemsley,

Creative Direction / Copy:
Heather Phibbs,

Public Relations:
Elizabeth Schulte Roth,

Keith Wright,

Hair & Makeup:
Serenity Scott,