Breathe Better September, New Zealand’s first-ever respiratory awareness month is now reaching the finale.
Rachel Crump from Tauranga says, "Breathe Better September has been very significant to our family after receiving the news of our daughter Chloe's bronchiectasis diagnosis.” The month allows everyone including families like the Crumps to raise awareness and get friends and workplaces involved.
“Many colleagues, family and friends were shocked at New Zealand’s current statistics and were more than happy to get on board and support it. They felt more educated and aware of the importance of respiratory health in not only children but adults as well,” says Rachel.
Asthma educator Melissa Nikora from Dannevirke says, “Breathe Better September is a huge step in the right direction to raise awareness. We got the whole town involved including day care centres, kindys and schools and it was a great success. Children learnt to support their friends if they know they have asthma or other respiratory conditions.”
Melissa elaborates that there’s still more that needs to be done. “There’s still the perception that respiratory disease is a mild condition, when for some it can be life-threatening. The more we promote it, the more people may start to realise how serious it can be. I definitely want to be involved again next year,” says Melissa.
Krystal Ikitoelagi from The Langham Hotel, Auckland says, “Breathe Better September is a great way to engage staff and get them talking about respiratory conditions. It’s also a good way for us to give-back to a worthy cause.”
Breathe Better September has shed a light on New Zealand’s alarming respiratory statistics, while encouraging Kiwis to show their support for better breathing and healthy lungs. The campaign also encouraged all Kiwis to make small changes to their lifestyle, environment and health care in order to make a big difference on their breathing.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the world. Over 700,000 Kiwis have a respiratory condition, it’s the third leading cause of death and costs the country $5.5 billion each year.
Respiratory disease includes asthma, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea.