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The Tony Award winning singer and actress Anika Noni Rose is pretty busy nowadays. But even her schedule on Broadway and Hollywood doesn’t stop her – not even her asthma. The star of  hit films like Dreamgirls and Disney’s The Princess and the Frog joined the American Lung Association to share her story and speak out for those with asthma.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases among children, affecting some seven million kids in America. But it can also strike adults. Anika was one of them, and she remembers it well.

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“It was my last year in grad school. I couldn’t stop coughing, and couldn’t clear my chest. I had several courses of antibiotics, but to no avail,” Anika explained. “I had a performance where I sang a song that I’d been singing for some time and was completely off pitch, losing my breath and embarrassed. By the end of the night I had no voice left.”

“I went back to the doctor and was shocked when he told me that I ‘may have asthma.’ A second opinion and an allergy test confirmed that I had asthma, and was allergic to cats, dust mites and some types of trees,” she said.

Anika Noni Rose: “I Couldn’t Stop Coughing”  was originally published on

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