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National respiratory awareness campaign launches

Breathe Better September 2018 - national respiratory awareness campaign launches
Breathe Better September is back and encouraging all Kiwis to take the challenge

2 July 2018 - The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ announces today the return of its third annual Breathe Better September campaign. Throughout September 2018, this national campaign will help to raise awareness and encourage fundraising for those living with a respiratory illness in New Zealand.

Asthma and respiratory diseases are two of the leading causes of sickness and death in New Zealand. One in six people have a respiratory disease. It’s the third most common cause of death. Asthma and other respiratory conditions lead to on average 63 deaths a year and costs our country $6B each year. One in seven children have asthma. Based on the severity of these facts, this campaign calls for the whole nation to become actively informed about asthma and other respiratory conditions and to help raise funds for much needed support for those living with these conditions.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ has teamed up with Les Mills Extreme to launch the campaign on Saturday 1 September 2018 with its ‘Bike for Better Breathing’ event in Wellington, Cuba Street. A 12 hour biking challenge that the public can take part in – right in the heart of the city.

The launch event kicks off the month’s activities as kiwis are encouraged to take on a personal challenge – ‘Breathe Better Challenge’ - throughout September to help raise awareness and fundraise. Whether it’s a walk round the block every day for the month, riding your bicycle once a week during September, or challenging yourself to do five minutes of meditation or yoga a day. For more information on the campaign or to register your own fundraising event visit

Samantha Bryant, Marketing Coordinator at Les Mills Extreme in Wellington, comments: "We are excited to be part of this event and support the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ in all its efforts in raising awareness and funds for people with respiratory conditions. Les Mills will be providing the exercise bikes for the campaign launch ‘Bike for Better Breathing’ plus some amazing giveaways. If you’re in Wellington make sure you’re there for all the action on launch day 1 September."

Letitia O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, urges New Zealanders to take part in Breathe Better September and says: "This campaign not only encourages Kiwis to think about an active lifestyle, but also educates and informs the public about asthma and other respiratory conditions. Expanding our knowledge on these conditions is vital as 700,000 Kiwis are affected by a respiratory condition. We’re delighted to launch the 2018 campaign, kicking off with the ‘Bike for Better Breathing’ event right in the heart of Wellington followed by a month of challenges that everyone can take part in – we cannot wait!”

Respiratory disease includes asthma, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Erin Simpson, TV personality and Ambassador for Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, adds: “After suffering from asthma for most of my life, I know how important this awareness campaign is. Let’s all get on board and challenge ourselves - respiratory health can be a challenge in itself! Let’s offer support to those who need it. I can’t wait to join in the fun on 1 September to launch a month of Better Breathing activities across the country. Challenge yourself this September!”

Organisations, schools, clubs, companies, families and individuals can set up their own Better Breathing Challenge fundraising page on ‘Everyday Hero’. For more information and details on how to set up your fundraising page also visit Look out for our resources coming soon! There will be a range of options for people to help promote their campaign including posters, banners and images. So get on board and Challenge yourself!

Quick facts
• Respiratory disease is New Zealand’s third most common cause of death.
• Respiratory disease costs New Zealand around $6 billion every year.
• One in six (over 700,000) New Zealanders live with a respiratory condition, and these rates are worsening.
• Respiratory disease accounts for one in eight of all hospital stays.
• More than half of the people admitted to hospital with a poverty-related condition are there because of a respiratory problem such as asthma, bronchiolitis, acute infection or pneumonia.
• People living in the most deprived households are admitted to hospital for respiratory illness over three times more often than people from the wealthiest areas.
• Across all age groups, hospitalisation rates are much higher for Pacific peoples (2.6 times higher) and Maori (2.1 times higher) than for other ethnic groups (Telfar Barnard et al., 2015).

For further information about the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ please visit


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