Will you take my breath away?
I remember the glistening rain falling down my cheeks as a six-year-old growing up in Bacolod, a small town in southern Philippines. I remember splashing in the puddles and thinking that life couldn’t get any better. The rain was weightless, unpredictable, and enchanting. I looked forward to it every year to cool down the blistering summers. But one day after I had been playing in the rain, I found myself gasping for air as my grandmother rushed me to an emergency room. This was the day I was diagnosed with severe early-onset childhood asthma, a condition that I live with to this day.
I never knew what would trigger my next attack. The world was vast yet suddenly dangerous. With the shadow of fear cast over me, I lost that childlike curiosity to discover the pirates hiding in my garden; to chase after my dog, Sasha; to travel to far off places that I had never been. I lost my will to explore as I lived in fear that it would cause me to take my last breath and so I stopped searching for my next adventure.
Nevertheless, having lived with the condition for most of my life, I've learned to manage my symptoms. And although I chose not to be a scientist, a doctor, or a researcher, I still dream of one day finding the cure to help the 300 million people who live with the same ailment. Instead, I've chosen to be an entrepreneur – one who will not only invest in cutting-edge research but also fund organizations that will provide support and education to families and their children. I can only hope for a day when each child could be free to live dangerously – to find that hidden treasure, to be chased by her ferocious canine, and to finally take that deep, long-awaited breath of crisp air on top of a mountain that she had once only dreamed of scaling – experiences that should take her breath away!