Every breathe you take: Alannah's story

Most of us take breathing for granted. It’s an automatic activity that we don’t need to think about. But imagine if every breath you took was a struggle; imagine waking up in the night wheezing and short of breath.

This is the reality for people with asthma, a chronic respiratory disease characterised by breathlessness and wheezing.1

According to Asthma Australia, around 2.3 million Australians have asthma, amounting to approximately 1 in 10 people having the condition.2

The severity and frequency of symptoms vary widely from patient to patient. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to managing this illness.1

Below, Alannah gives her perspective on the impact it has had on her life, how she manages it and the importance of taking her medicine.

Alannah’s story

Since Alannah was a child, she has continually struggled to get her asthma under control. “When I was younger I remember there being a lot of problems at night. I’d be lying in bed, coughing and wheezing. My parents would check on me, prop me up on pillows and do whatever they could to help, sometimes even rushing me to the emergency room. There were a lot of sleepless nights for both me and my parents.”

At school, it was not much better. Sport was always a problem for Alannah as her asthma prevented her from playing the sports she loved. “I didn’t want to make a fuss in front of my friends, other students and teachers. I didn’t want to make a big deal about my asthma.”

More recently, asthma has been a problem for Alannah while pursing her dream of singing and performing arts. After moving from a country town to Perth, where she was accepted into the WA Academy of Performing Arts, Alannah was managing her asthma with a reliever medication. She soon realised that she was unable to sing and hold long breaths like the other students in her class.

“My ultimate goal is to be internationally recognised as a versatile singer, singing for Cirque du Soleil®. Being able to breathe properly and having my asthma under control is key to reaching that goal,” she says.

Happily for Alannah, by taking her medicine that was recommended by her GP, along with an asthma management plan, she now has her asthma under control. Alannah is now able to live her life largely free of the constant fear of having a tight chest and breathing difficulties.

She wishes for a world where asthma is free of stigma. A world that has greater understanding of the condition to prevent people from panicking whenever they see someone taking a puff of their asthma inhaler.

Alannah has shared her inspiring story in the hope that it allows others to successfully manage their asthma while at the same time, pursuing their dreams. “Control of my asthma will allow me to one day be the singer, dancer and actor I hope to be.”

GSK’s commitment to respiratory disease

GSK has a long heritage in researching and making medicines for respiratory conditions. 

Since the 1960s, GSK has made significant contributions to respiratory medicine. Over the last 40 years, our pioneering respiratory science in these areas has helped us develop innovative treatments for millions of patients around the world.

Moreover, GSK supplied a third of all respiratory medicines for people with asthma worldwide in 2012.

GSK remains committed to developing treatments that significantly improve the lives of patients worldwide who suffer from respiratory illnesses.

GSK thanks Alannah for sharing her story. For further information regarding asthma please consult your healthcare professional. The personal experiences shared by Alannah are not intended to represent the views of all patients with asthma.


  1. Asthma Australia. What is Asthma. April 2016. Available at: http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/national/about-asthma/what-is-asthma. Accessed April 2016.
  2. Asthma Australia. What is Asthma - Statistics. April 2016. Available at: http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/national/about-asthma/what-is-asthma-/statistics. Accessed April 2016.

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