DIANE GROFT, of Westminster, who runs a support group for Carroll County asthmatics and their families. Mrs. Groft's 3-year-old son, Ryan, suffers from the disease.
The Maryland Chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America named Mrs. Groft a "Local Hero" for providing a setting in which people can learn about asthma and share their concerns.
In addition to organizing the support group's meetings, Mrs. Groft also maintains a lending library of materials about asthma. She recently completed training that will enable her to teach children's seminars on coping with asthma.
Organization's comments: "It's very hard to talk about asthma and try not to scare people, and Diane is excellent at that," said Maria Hammontree, director of education for the Maryland chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
When you are talking to an anxious parent in a hospital emergency room, she said, "You have to know what you can say, what they can take in.
"She's a very calming, very gentle person and she has this wonderful gift for listening to people."
Volunteer's comments: "So much literature is available to me . . . and I pass it on to other group members," said Mrs. Groft. That information helps people ask their doctors the right questions, she said.
The support group helps her, too, she said.
"I have wonderful friends who listen. They try to understand, but they don't, and these people do."
Background: Besides Ryan, Mrs. Groft and her husband, Randy Groft, have a 6-year-old daughter, Ashley. In addition to her work with the asthma group, Mrs. Groft is second vice president of the Westminster Junior Women's Club. She enjoys sports and counted cross-stitch.
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