In the spirit and season of giving, I wanted to share an email I received on Christmas eve from a fellow severe asthmatic and long-time reader of my stuff.

For the purpose of posting this on my blog, the sender’s only request was that I change their name to “Penguin”, which apparently has significant meaning for them.

Dear Stephen,
About 10 years ago I was doing very poorly, with extremely uncontrolled severe asthma. You told me about Sally Wenzel and SARP at UPMC. I was very grateful for your help, as I knew that I was heading for a fatal asthma attack unless I received expert intervention. Dr Wenzel was very kind. A bronchoscopy as part of SARP showed severe eosinophilia. I suspected that I had EGPA (I’m a physician) and my self-diagnosis proved to be correct. Although my lung function is declining, my symptoms are under good control on Dupixent. Stephen, I have ~150,000 Airline miles that have been sitting in my account for several years. I don’t want them to expire. I would very much like to donate them to you so that you can use them towards your trip to Rome. Can you make use of them? If there are any fees involved with the transfer, I will cover them (I’ve never used airline miles before so I’d have to look up what to do).
With very best wishes for a happy Christmas, and a peaceful and exacerbation-free New Year.
–The Penguin–

It that a beautiful gesture or what? The fact this person would do something so kind for someone they barely know, blows me way. Not to mention that they’re also suffering from a pretty rare condition.

I accepted the gracious offer. But, it turned out to be prohibitively expensive to transfer that many miles into my acct (over $2200), so this person did the next best thing….they booked and paid for my entire airfare to and from Europe…how cool is that?

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this generous gift and the sincere kindness behind it. But more than that, it makes me feel good knowing that in some small way, I was able to help change someone’s life for the better.

With heart felt gratitude, Thank you Penguin! I hope 2023 finds you breathing a little better.

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