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Let’s do more for the one in four!

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand Inc

3 April, 2008

Let’s do more for the one in four! Balloon Day 2008 is launched

The fact that one in four Kiwi kids has asthma is one of the important messages the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation is stressing in its Balloon Day 2008 campaign, officially launched today.

The campaign aims to increase public awareness of asthma among the public and politicians in this election year and raise money for research that will benefit children with asthma.

Foundation Executive Director Jane Patterson and Asthma Ambassador Danyon Loader are calling on the public to give generously and support Balloon Day so that children benefit from leading research and the Foundation can continue to support the asthma societies across the country in the education and advice they provide.

The Foundation also needs support to lobby Parliament to get asthma taken much more seriously by politicians.

Balloon Day itself is on Saturday 10 May. In addition to a number of activities on the day held at Mitre 10 MEGA's and selected Mitre 10 stores, people all over New Zealand, including a number of schools, Contact Energy staff, pharmacies and asthma societies will be running events in the build up.

Many New Zealanders will recall the “1 in 4 kids can’t fill these” television advertisements the Foundation ran last year, with two deflated red balloons and an audio voice-over featuring a child gasping for air. The advertisement doesn’t make for particularly pleasant watching, but viewers probably feel a great sense of relief when the child’s breathing returns to normal.

This year’s campaign theme too is “let’s do more for the one in four!”

Last year $33,000 was raised for research that will benefit children with asthma but the bar has been raised.

“We plan to top this, but we need everyone on board, “Jane says.

“Ringing 0900-4-ASTHMA [0900-4-278 462] to donate $20 or just texting BREATHE to 3979 to donate $3 is easy and is a real way of contributing to reducing the impact asthma has on so many lives.

“New Zealanders may not all be aware that the leading cause of hospitalisation among our children is asthma. Around 200 New Zealanders die every year from asthma.”

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. We really need to work together to help Kiwis with asthma get the best information, services and treatments possible. I have exercise-induced asthma and I have benefited greatly from knowing how to best manage my condition,” says Danyon, a former Olympic double-gold medallist swimmer.

In 2007 a number of celebrities including Danyon and fellow swimmer Liz Coster and TV2’s Dayna Vawdrey helped out on the day telling people about their asthma, Matt Gibb from TV2 was there and there were sausage sizzles, mufti days at colleges and primary schools and balloons were sold at Mitre 10s. Swimming New Zealand came on board: the team held their collective breath for asthma.

It was announced last weekend that Liz has again made it to the Olympic swimming team despite her asthma and her chlorine allergy and Jane passes on her congratulations and best wishes from the Foundation.

“Liz’s brilliant achievements lend weight to the case that asthma diagnosis, treatment and research really needs to be prioritised by the Ministry of Health and politicians. We could save the taxpayer absolutely huge sums of money annually. Improved services for people with asthma would give many more people the chance to, if not get into the Olympic swimming squad, at least live healthier, happier lives.”

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation would like to thank Contact Energy and Mitre 10 for their generous support for Balloon Day 2008.

Notes to editors

1. The Foundation’s hot air balloon, Puff, recently made appearances at the Levin and Wairarapa balloon fiestas. Puff is scheduled to make public appearances throughout the campaign and to keep up with Puff’s movement’s you can visit


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