Asthma and Respiratory Foundation’s (ARFNZ) annual Breathe Better September campaign is off to a flying start with more than 50 teams and individuals having already signed up to complete a ‘Better Breathing Challenge’ this month.

The campaign encourages all Kiwis to show their support for better breathing and healthy lungs, and to start thinking about how they can improve their respiratory health.

One Better Breathing Hero, Quinn Kara-Taihia, aged nine from Hamilton, has almost reached his fundraising goal already, raising over $200 in the past two weeks leading up to September.

Quinn suffered his first asthma emergency at two years of age, and since then has had multiple admissions to hospital, including four to ICU at Waikato Hospital.

"Having asthma has set me back from doing so many activities with my siblings and friends" says Quinn, "my challenge for Breathe Better September is to be able to do a lot more outdoor activities without having asthma flare-ups."

Quinn and his family want to use Breathe Better September to raise awareness about asthma and how serious the condition can be.

"We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of our whānau who have been supporting Quinn with his illness" says Quinn’s mum, Jackie, "including Waikato Hospital staff, especially Quinn’s Paediatric Doctor, Dr Alex Wallace, who's been a massive part of Quinn’s life, and Asthma Waikato who have also gone above and beyond to support us."

"Breathe Better September is a fun way to raise the national profile of respiratory health in New Zealand and encourages people to improve their lung health" says Letitia Harding, Chief Executive, ARFNZ.

"With a respiratory pandemic right on our doorstep, getting your lungs healthy is more important than ever - set yourself a challenge to start exercising, or stop smoking and vaping, and get your lungs fighting fit!"

Better Breathing Challenges can be set as a an individual, family, or as a team, with schools and workplaces taking part in previous years.

"We’re proud to have the support of so many Better Breathing Heroes for this year’s campaign" says Letitia.

Local businesses have donated prizes to be drawn for our Better Breathing Heroes who raise funds, and three children will take home Micro Scooters as winners of this year’s children’s art competition themed ‘Te Hā Ora - the breath of life’.

To find out more about the campaign or art competition, or to sign-up or to donate, visit: www.breathebetterseptember.co.nz

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