Kids helping kids during an asthma emergency   

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ announces schools' campaign on World Asthma Day – Tuesday 7 May 2019 – encouraging students to know what to do in an asthma emergency  

One in seven children (133,000) have asthma in New Zealand. It’s also estimated that 586,000 school days are lost each year due to asthma related symptoms in children.         

7 May 2019 is World Asthma Day and is celebrated around the world to raise the profile and continued education of asthma. A fun and engaging campaign for schools to celebrate World Asthma Day will be run by Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ), encouraging students to know what to do in an asthma emergency. 

Letitia O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ comments, "This is the second year that we have run our World Asthma Day schools' campaign, and we hope it gets bigger and bigger every year. Last year we had over 90 schools participate on the day by doing activities or fundraising for the Foundation. We received great feedback from schools as the students had a fabulous time doing the activities while also learning about asthma.”

“Statistics show there will be at least four children in a class of 30 students who have asthma, so we know this is a very important topic. This May we’ll be providing free activity packs for schools with a focus on asthma emergency awareness – encouraging students to learn what to do in an asthma emergency and asking schools to check their asthma emergency kit is up-to-date. Making these preparations in advance could very well save lives,” says Letitia.    

ARFNZ is a charitable organisation that strives to provide resources and education across all areas of the community despite receiving no government funding. Some of the Foundation’s school-related initiatives include Sailor the Puffer Fish, a musical show educating primary school children about asthma and was recently launched in Te Reo Māori. ARFNZ also provides a ‘Teachers’ Asthma Toolkit’, designed for teachers to have important information about asthma in one place – via an interactive website.    

ARFNZ is greatly encouraging students to fundraise this World Asthma Day to aid asthma education, prevention and management in the community. There are prizes up for grabs – for every $25 a school raises gives them one entry into the draw to win one of three scooters, kindly donated by Micro Scooters NZ.    

“Winning schools could use the scooters as a prize for an outstanding leader or someone who demonstrates a positive attitude within their school community,” says Letitia.      

Student fundraisers gain valuable life skills such as leadership and confidence. Baradene College of the Sacred Heart student and past fundraiser, Annie says: “In a school where leadership is encouraged amongst young ladies, we were breathless with excitement to be given this opportunity and get the school involved for this cause.”    

World Asthma Day at schools is open to early childhood education centres, primary schools, intermediate schools and secondary schools.