April 23, 2003
Posted at: 7:14 p.m. CDT
TRUMANN, Ark. -- A Region 8 man that has suffered with asthma nearly all his life hopes a new opportunity will give him a normal one.
Thirty-four-year-old Jerry Owens has lived in Trumann his whole life. He's lived with asthma since the age of two. Other ailments have also plagued Owens throughout his life.
"Type two diabetes, scoliosis, COPD, which is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, caused from all the pneumonia's and collapsing of my lungs," Owens said.
Already this year, Jerry has been in and out of the hospital three times. Doctors have told Jerry that his lungs are comparable to someone in their sixties, making it difficult for him to: "Basically hold down a job, or get out and mow the yard, or playing ball with my son.
"Without my oxygen, I can barely walk across the room without getting out of breath," Owens said.
There is someone who knows of Jerry's suffering all to well, his wife Mary.
"It is painful, like he said," Mary Owens said. "He can't do some of the things he likes to do, or the things I need him to do. He can't do it sometimes."
On May 11, Jerry Owens will be flown to a well known asthma research center, the National Jewish Hospital in Denver for testing. The American Lung Association aides Owens with some of his funding for the trip. But, the rest of the expenses will come out of his own pocket.
"I'm on a fixed income," Jeff Owens said. "So it's kind of hard to come up with all the money I'm gonna need. The place where I'm staying (in Denver), is just gonna cost me $600."
Jerry believes that a trip to Colorado will help him reach his dream.
"I would just like to live a normal life," he said. "I'm a young person."
Those interested in helping Jerry Owens can do so by making a tax deductible donation to the American Lung Association at:
211 Natural Resource Drive
Little Rock, AR 72205