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Breathtaking Achievers In Your Region

Media Release

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of NZ (Inc.)

16 November 2005


Breathtaking Achievers In Your Region

Stories of courage and tenacity from all over the country are being celebrated by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation and local asthma societies. (View the stories and photographs at www.asthmanz.co.nz by region.) The announcement of the Regional Achievers has been saved until today to mark World COPD Day (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) 2005.

The stories document the struggles and successes of the 2005 Regional Asthma and Respiratory Achievers, including people like Ashleigh Hill from Feilding, who in 2004 suffered a severe asthma attack and went into cardiac arrest. Two Feilding policemen administered ten minutes of CPR on Ashleigh on the footpath outside the medical centre. After nine hours on life support, Ashleigh came out of a coma.

Today Ashleigh is ten years old and has a special charm and infectious personality. She is an inspiration for people with asthma. She is active, intelligent and motivated. She enjoys swimming, netball and rock and roll dancing. Recently Ashleigh put a strategy in place at her school to help protect herself and other people with asthma. She is a leader within her school environment and also within her extended family.

There are role-models like Ashleigh in your community who have achieved great things, and they do this with the extra burden of a respiratory condition. Jane Patterson, Foundation Executive Director, says that the quality of the Regional Achievers is outstanding.

“These people are exceptional even before you take into account that they have respiratory conditions. When you throw the extra challenges they face into the mix, you realise that they are so courageous, so driven, so passionate about what they do, that they must be acknowledged.”

Over 800,000 New Zealanders have respiratory conditions (including one in four of our children.) The Asthma and Respiratory Achievers’ Awards celebrate the achievements of people with respiratory conditions. The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation also seeks to raise awareness of the fact that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the world, and yet it is still not considered a health priority by the Ministry of Health.

The Foundation and its affiliated societies are acknowledging 200 people nationwide with a certificate for their achievements. On Tuesday 22 November 2005, eight Supreme Achievers will be announced, and those Achievers will travel to Wellington to collect their awards.

ENDS

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