Early in 2016, we had the privilege to work with Medicines NZ on a project called Patient Stories, designed to educate New Zealanders about the benefits of early diagnosis and use of medicines in order to have fewer and shorter hospital stays and enjoy a higher quality of life.

To get out this message, we flew to Mount Maunganui to film and interview two inspirational Kiwis, mother and son duo Regina Walker and Davis Herniman. Davis is a cheerful and cheeky young fella of Te Aitanga a Mahaki who lives with life threatening brittle asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis. At age seven, he had his first asthma attack and nearly died. He’s been to ICU over 10 times and Starship hospital a couple of times. 

Davis’ Mum Regina Walker, works incredibly hard to manage his condition. Nurse Steph Parker says, “He has an amazing Mum who is solely responsible for this fellow being alive. She recognises his symptoms and gets him to the hospital asap.” Regina keeps track of peak flows, finds the best medication through trial and error and has taken Davis to numerous specialists. She has also eliminated any possible triggers, including their pets, shaggy rugs and trees outside the house. 

Davis has a cheerful and positive attitude despite everything that he’s been through. He’s good at taking his medication, uses breathing techniques to help manage his asthma, and is an advocate for being smoke free. He has a great sense of humour and a good relationship with hospital staff. Davis enjoys playing rugby league and softball. This year he wants to play a few other sports, and also start biking to school.

We debuted the video at the 2016 New Zealand Respiratory Awards, where Davis and Regina were also awarded the Cody Forbes Award for courage. They are truly an amazing team who together show that respiratory conditions can be managed, and that people an still full and active lives despite this.

Click here to watch the video and hear their story. Thanks again to the team at Medicines NZ, and of course Steph, Regina and Davis!