PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The annual Phillies Charities 5K will be back this weekend for the first time in two years. Among the runners will be a Montgomery County woman who’s breathing easier after a new treatment.

Some estimates show up to 20% of the population in Philadelphia has asthma — a chronic inflammation of the airways. Now, there’s a new treatment option for people with severe asthma.

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Hannah Ludescher is getting ready for the Phillies Charities 5K, relieved she’s back to her favorite hobby.

“I ran marathons, I did triathlons, then my asthma got really bad,” she said. “I was actually in the hospital, every single month in the ICU.”

The Philadelphia region has one of the highest asthma rates in the country, especially among African Americans. Now, spring allergy season makes breathing even harder for people with asthma.

For Ludescher, it’s been a year-round problem.

“I couldn’t do anything,” Ludescher said. “I was completely miserable.”

For people with severe asthma such as Ludescher, Temple University Hospital is doing a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty.

Dr. Sean Duffy says it uses thermal heat to make breathing easier.

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“It actually shrinks that muscle around the airway,” Duffy said. “So when you shrink that muscle, you reduce the ability for the airway to constrict so it can’t close down as easily. It actually tends to result in fewer symptoms and fewer exacerbations for our asthma patients.”

Ludescher says the procedure turned her life around.

“I’m able to live my life again, I’m able to do all the things I love,” Ludescher said. “I’ve been faster, I’m able to breathe. I’m happier now.”

She’ll be among thousands expected for the 12th annual Phillies Charities 5K Saturday morning, back in person for the first time in two years at Citizens Bank Park. Money raised goes to a variety of community charities.

For Ludescher, it’s all about determination.

“Never give up hope,” she said. “When someone told me I was not able to run again, I did not listen to them.”

Doctors say people with less serious cases of asthma can usually be successfully treated with inhalers and other therapies.

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For the return of the Phillies Charities 5K this Saturday, registration is open until Friday. You can sign up here.

Stephanie Stahl