Rick Purcell was first diagnosed with asthma when he was 9 years old. However, the symptoms of the disease mostly went away for 23 years.
Then, when Rick was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1991, he moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, close to the Mount Tom Generating Station, a dirty coal-fired power plant. Shortly thereafter, Rick's asthma symptoms came back.
Today, Rick says, "I am currently on Advair which I have to take 2 doses per day. This is very expensive steroid that I take and it really helps me to breath. I carry an inhaler with me, in case I need it in emergency."
Rick explains that breathing easily is important to him because "I am a very active individual. I walk everyday, and run in local road races. If I did not take my asthma meds, I do not think I would be able to be as active as I am."
And luckily, "I have a pharmaceutical med plan through my place of employment," Rick says, because "if not for the med plan I would go bankrupt because of how expensive the meds I take are."
Rick says, "I cannot prove that the Mt. Tom Coal Plant is the blame for my asthma coming back, but with all the violations of the Clean Air Act, I think they may contribute. I wish our leaders would consider the health factors of citizens over the dollars contributed to the cities tax base of a polluting company. These guys are clearly never held accountable. I think the time has come in our nation's history to lead by example, and switch to cleaner energy."