On Thursday 19 April 2018, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ celebrated its 30th annual New Zealand Respiratory Achievers' Awards. With respiratory diseases affecting over 700,000 Kiwis, all forms of support and awareness are significant to helping those impacted. The Foundation is honoured to put on two awards ceremonies: the Respiratory Achievers' Awards which allow us to praise those individuals making a real difference while living with respiratory diseases, and the Media Awards which are to recognise people who utilise their resources to spread awareness about respiratory conditions.
The night was filled with remarkable guests and speakers sharing inspirational stories. Among them was Erin Simpson, TV Personality and Ambassador for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, who announced the evenings winners. She was accompanied on stage by Sir John Clarke, Lady Kathy Clarke, and CEO Letitia O'Dwyer, who helped present the awards.
Alistair Harsant, another Ambassador for the Foundation, spoke about living with chronic asthma and the extraordinary challenges he has still been able to overcome. Alistair discussed how he manages his condition by training for and competing in Ironman competitions. His determination, courage, and perseverance shined through and touched everyone in the room.
Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Letitia O'Dwyer, expressed, "It was a delight to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Respiratory Achievers' Awards. The awards are about honouring the achievements of inspiring New Zealanders living with a respiratory condition, as well as recognising there is still a long way to go to address respiratory issues in New Zealand. These people should inspire us all to continue the valuable work that we do by helping to raise awareness, educate, and support important health research, whilst also continuing to push for a government prominent respiratory health target." said Letitia O’Dwyer, CEO at Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ.
See below for a complete list of this year's winners.
Mayim Hartley (Palmerston North), winner of the 5-12 years category, is a brave and hugely positive young boy living with chronic lung disease. Mayim has also completed several Weetbix Triathlon's despite his condition;
Ben McCallum (Hamilton), winner of the 13-18 years category, is a dedicated young athlete who has lived with moderate to severe asthma since birth. Ben has never let his asthma hold him back and has made some brilliant sporting achievements in Kayaking and Surf Lifesaving;
Cybele Souza (Christchurch), winner of the adult asthma category, is an incredible young lady who has had asthma since age two and many hospital admissions throughout her life. Cybele has shown commitment and determination in everything she does, including her fantastic achievements in the Christchurch City Chorus;
Aketaunga Pureau (Napier), winner of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) category who has come a long way with the management of her COPD, even becoming a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme trainer. She also completed an IronMāori contest in 2017 despite her lung condition;
Inosandreia Nesi Tike (Auckland), winner of the other respiratory conditions category who was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis and Chronic Asthma on the week of her first birthday. Inosandreia maintains a healthy lifestyle by self-managing her medications and staying active through traditional Tongna dancing;
Chloe Crump (Tauranga), winner of the Cordy Forbes Award for Courage, is a very strong young girl who has had over 25 hospital admissions due to her chronic asthma, bronchiectasis, obstructive sleep apnoea and bronchiolitis. Despite this, she keeps active and even recently climbed Mount Maunganui at 732 metres high.
Rachel Thomas from the Dominion Post, won the Print and Online Media Award for her article ‘NZ’s $6 billion Breathing Problem’ highlighting the latest research around New Zealand’s respiratory health and the huge impact it has on our population;
Health Industry Media Award winners Dr John Dunlop and Dr Linda Bryant, collaboratively wrote the detailed article ‘Asthma in the Adult Population’ for Pharmacy Today, highlighting the high incidence of asthma in New Zealand, the involvement of different cell types in asthma, diagnostic criteria, and details on common triggers;
Te Okiwa McLean won the Broadcast Media Award for his broadcast presented on Te Karere on World Asthma Day 2017. Te Okiwa's special focused on the urgent action needed in New Zealand to control asthma in Maori and Pacific children.