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After Maui woman dies from asthma, ‘Lungs for Life’ event aims to boost awareness

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Sisters Lalaine Pasion (left) and Carmen Pasion Dagulo. PC: Courtesy
The first “Lungs for Life” fundraiser event will be held at locally-owned Level Up gym in Kahului. PC: Courtesy

When Maui resident Carmen Pasion Dagulo, 56, was buried earlier this year, her grieving family had no idea what had caused Dagulo’s unexpected death in the middle of the night. 

“After two months the funeral director told me it was an acute asthma attack,” said Dagulo’s sister, Lalaine Pasion. “Her husband said, ‘I didn’t know you could die from asthma.’” 

That’s why Pasion is determined to help spread awareness about the dangers of adult asthma, which is often overlooked.  

She’s launched an asthma awareness campaign, which includes the first “Lungs for Life” event, a fundraising event to benefit the nonprofit Allergy & Asthma Network.  “Lungs for Life” will be held from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at fitness facility Level Up Maui, 343 Hanamau St., Kahului.

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The event includes fitness instruction for all ages, along with a kickboxing class for ages 13 and older. A minimum $15 donation is requested to join a class, with all proceeds going toward the nonprofit, which will be used for Maui education and advocacy. In addition, local vendors will offer products, arts and crafts. 

The inaugural “Lungs for Life” is a partnership among Allergy & Asthma Network Foundation, Level Up Maui and Malama Yo Mama.  

To reserve a spot or to donate, visit “Lunges for Life.” 

Although there are no cures for asthma, exercise can help improve asthma so long as it is under control, doctors said on Allergy & Asthma Network’s website. 

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Asthma impacts about 20 million adults in the US, and those with higher rates of asthma include African Americans, Alaskan Natives/American Indians and Puerto Ricans, according to Allergy & Asthma Network. 

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes swelling and inflammation in the lungs. It is accompanied by overproduction of mucus and spasm of smooth muscles that control breathing. Adult-onset asthma is usually defined as asthma that starts any time after age 20. 

One study shows that sudden-onset fatal asthma cases may be increasing, according to the Mayo Clinic.  

If sudden-onset fatal asthma is defined as death that occurs within one hour after the asthma attack, at least 15% to 26% of fatalities from asthma can be attributed to this type of asthma.  

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In contrast, if sudden-onset fatal asthma is defined as death within three hours after onset of the terminal asthma attack, at least 29% (and possibly up to 40%) of all asthma-associated deaths can be attributed to it, the Mayo Clinic said. 

Aside from “Lungs for Life,” Pasion is working on Hawai’i legislation that would offer optional asthma education courses to students and develop and provide asthma training to teachers and other state Department of Education employees who interact with students. 

Pasion said Dagulo touched the hearts and lives of countless people on Maui and she is missed, especially by her family.  

“She was always so giving, devoted to her family and friends, friendly and helpful, and especially self-sacrificing,” Pasion said.  

Dagulo is survived by husband Feliben Dagulo, son Jordan, brothers Rowie Pasion and Domingo Pasion, and sisters Armi Madariaga and Lalaine Pasion, along with two grandchildren. 

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