Home CHEST Thought Leaders 2015 CHEST Foundation Grant Recipient’s Project Leads to City Proclamation for Special Day

2015 CHEST Foundation Grant Recipient’s Project Leads to City Proclamation for Special Day

By: Vanessa Claude

Mayor Nelda Martinez of Corpus Christi, Texas, proclaimed October 19, 2016, as “iConquer: Clean Wisely Healthy Living Day,” commemorating the work of Zehra Surani, MS, RRT, a 2015 CHEST Foundation grant winner. On this day, all Corpus Christi schools participated in the program. “It’s a big honor,” Surani comments on receiving CHEST Foundation support. “It authenticates our work and gives us the honor that CHEST Foundation believes in us. If CHEST Foundation believes in us, then other supporters will believe in us, too.”

Surani, Executive Director of It’s Your Life Foundation, used grant funding to establish the iConquer: Clean Wisely! program to teach kids healthy hygiene and promote healthy habits that can help prevent the flu. Every year:

  • Five to 20% of the US population gets the flu.
  • 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu—up to 50,000 die from flu-related illness. 

Prevention Is the Best Cure

Through an animated 7-minute film, the iConquer program teaches proper hand washing techniques and other healthy habits aimed at preventing the flu. The film makes a side-by-side comparison of two characters—one with good hand washing hygiene, one without—and shows the results of their choices. Additionally, the iConquer project encourages participants to share healthy habits with their families and those around them. “Prevention, we believe, is the best cure,” Surani says. “Our mission is to create habits. Once you create healthy habits, you don’t have to change them.”

Supporting the Cause

With the help of CHEST Foundation funding, Surani funded the film, which particularly appeals to young audiences in an interesting and impactful way. More than 2,000 students have been reached, and the goal is to reach at least 5,000 students in the coming year.

The CHEST Foundation grant has also supported:

  • Opportunities for rotary and other clubs to promote the program.
  • Development of iconquerkids.com, a website featuring free resources and the short film for download (coming soon).

No Barriers

The goals Surani has put forth and accomplished with iConquer: Clean Wisely!, as well as her positive attitude, are to be admired. Her advice to future grant applicants: “Be passionate. Be passionate with whatever you do… if you’re passionate, you’ll find a way. If you’re passionate about it, there are no barriers.”

Are you passionate about a project that advances lung health? Apply for a CHEST Foundation grant in 2017. Watch for applications to open February 1, 2017, at chestnet.org/grants