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Sick Children Among Those Honoured At Awards Night

A 14-year-old Samoan boy with scarred breathing tubes and a young girl who has suffered numerous life-threatening asthma attacks are just two of the winners of the 2024 Respiratory Achievers’ Awards.

The awards, hosted by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, were held in Wellington on Thursday evening to honour and celebrate the achievements of New Zealanders living with respiratory conditions.

Foundation Chief Executive Ms Letitia Harding says the event aims to highlight the successes of outstanding individuals who have to work hard just to breathe, yet still manage to achieve their goals.

"Managing a respiratory condition takes ongoing determination, courage and a positive mindset.

"People take breathing for granted, but if you think about it - if you struggle to breathe, you struggle to do anything," she says.

"All the winners honoured at this event are amazing role models across all ages, who manage their respiratory conditions every day, while excelling in sports, academics, leadership, community service and advocacy."

One in 7 Kiwis live with a respiratory condition and it is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand.

The winners of the 2024 Respiratory Achievers’ Awards are:

Maddison-Grace Wilson, 10, Tauranga

Cody Forbes Award for Courage

Maddi has had more than 15 surgeries due to complications from her multiple respiratory conditions, but she is not giving up on her dream of being a zoo vet and a princess in a castle. Read Maddi’s full story here.

Faamanatu Ofisa, 14, Auckland

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Other Respiratory Conditions

14-year-old Samoan teen Faamanatu Ofisa has scars in his breathing tubes, but his determination to take care of his lungs is driven by his passion for playing rugby. Read Natu's full story here.

Charleigh Skelton-Morris, 12, Colyton, Manawatu

Asthma (5 - 12 years old)

Charleigh has just popped and locked her way into the Hip Hop World Championships, a huge achievement given her ongoing battle with severe asthma. Read Charleigh’s full story here.

Dominique Maltby, 14, Auckland

Asthma (13 - 18 years old)

From ICU at Starship Hospital in Auckland, to Year 8 Sports Girl of the Year 2023, Dominique wants other kids to know that if you look after your lungs, you can achieve anything. Read Dominique’s full story here.

Betty Blake, 78, Auckland

Adult Asthma

Asthma is an unwelcome, very irksome, troublesome companion in Betty Blake’s life, but she knows the importance of managing her condition after the death of her cousin to asthma at the age of 18. Read Betty’s full story here.

Margaret Bowler, Christchurch

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Margaret is a role model for those living with COPD, holding exercise classes once a week in her community despite suffering from COPD herself.

Anne Webster, 66, Wellington

Respiratory Educator

Anne Webster has spent two decades trying to help tamariki stay well with their asthma and is described by her colleagues as one of the most caring nurses who always goes the extra mile for whānau in her care. Read Anne’s full story here.

Vape-Free Kids NZ, Nationwide

Youth Anti-Vaping Champion

Five mums are on a crusade to raise awareness of New Zealand’s vaping epidemic and to fight for families who have been torn apart by addiction. Read Vape-Free Kids NZ’s full story here.

The awards were made possible thanks to the generosity of GJ Gardner, the Foundation’s only Platinum Friends of the Foundation sponsor.

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