For the 12th time, residents Ravi and Usha Chandran will participate in the American Lung Association's Fight for Air 5K Walk in honor of his son, Raghu.
Raghu Chandran was diagnosed with asthma when he was 5 years old. After his diagnosis, he kept his asthma under control with medication.
Then, in September 2001, 16-year-old Raghu was upstairs playing guitar when his sister heard him wheezing. He died later that day following an asthma attack.
Ravi Chandran said soon after his son's death, his wife, Usha, heard about the walk from a colleague. They set up a team and walked. They've participated every year since.
The annual fundraiser will take place on Sept. 30 at the McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook. Other walks take place around the country.
The ALA fights for healthy air and healthy lungs, according to its website. It funds scientific research for chronic lung diseases, sponsors smoke-free initiatives and pushes the EPA to set air pollution standards.
After the 2001 walk, Ravi Chandran was invited to join the state board for the American Lung Association. Initially, Chandran took the position to give him closure. As time went on, he realized his involvement had a different purpose.
Through his work, Chandran helps educate children about their asthma to help prevent others from losing loved ones.
“Nothing we do is going to bring back my son,” Chandran said. “But hopefully it’s done some good for somebody.”
As a finance guy, working with the ALA has been “professionally fulfilling,” Chandran said. The ALA is one of the financially strongest organizations, he said, and has become more efficient in the time Chandran has been on the board.
“It’s a real fulfilling outcome to see what the region has evolved into,” Chandran said.
There’s no fee to participate in the Fight for Air walk. Companies can sponsor a team, or individuals can participate on their own. So far more than $33,000 have been raised through the event.