What People with Asthma Can Learn from Che Guevara

Che Guevara, who played a big part in the Cuban Revolution, has become a popular symbol in pop culture. There are those who consider him a symbol of rebellion, whereas others may only see him as a vintage or retro logo. Either way, his face printed on t-shirts, mugs, and other accessories is a testament to just how popular this Argentinian is. 

But here’s something you most probably don’t know about Che Guevara: he had asthma. Yes, really. But he didn’t let that get in the way of his dreams and ambitions though.

Che Guevara and Asthma

When Che Guevara was a baby, he was tiny and sickly. He was born premature.

Despite his condition, his father chose the rough approach in rearing him. Time’s 1960 cover story gives us the details: His father left baby Che on a balcony during the winter, wearing nothing but a diaper, and he was given cold baths and icy showers. This left him with a persistent cough and severe asthma.

Dealing with Asthma

You could say Che was no different than his father when dealing with his asthma. He wasn’t gentle on himself but seemed to push his body to its limits.

He was not one to let bouts of acute asthma cripple him from living his life. He was fairly active and excelled in athletics. He played rugby and enjoyed sports like swimming, football, golf, and shooting.

But he went on rages regularly, one of which put him in a two-hour-long asthma attack. He was a chain smoker of cigars, too. You can read about the details here.

Lessons from Che’s Battle with Asthma

Che’s lifelong battle with asthma provides us suffering from similar conditions a couple of gems:

First of all, we learn that asthma should not be a hindrance or excuse for not living life.

When you have asthma, it can be pretty depressing and frightening to get severe asthma attacks. But don’t let it become the focal point of your life. Neither should you make it an excuse to stay cooped up in well-sanitized indoor settings.

Che went on living his life as if he didn’t have any health condition, and he surely didn’t make up excuses about being active or achieving his ambitions.

Second, don’t ignore your asthma; keep it under control.

With regular rages and chain-smoking habits, Che seemed to be ignoring the fact that he had asthma (at least in his youth). It is known, based on an interview with his mother, that he took some pills for his asthma in his later years.

Don’t ignore your asthma. Acknowledge it. Learn all you can about it. Consult your doctor about treating it. Avoid your triggers and have some physical activity. Have your asthma under control so you can live your life to the fullest.


How has Che Guevara’s battle with asthma inspired you to live your life?

Additional Images: Wikimedia Commons / Alberto Korda



Juvy Garcia
Juvy Garcia
Juvy is a freelance proofreader, copy editor and writer. A nice little nook with a good book would be ideal. But concocting plans for her next drawing or DIY project will suffice while she's still busy babysitting two daughters. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Google+.