Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) is encouraging Kiwis to become Better Breathing Heroes this September as they launch their fifth annual Breathe Better September campaign.

Kiwis are encouraged to show their support for fellow New Zealanders with asthma and other respiratory conditions by setting an active ‘Better Breathing Challenge’ for the month of September to raise funds and awareness to support Kiwis with respiratory disease.

The ARFNZ team have kick-started the campaign by setting a Better Breathing Challenge to row 700km for the 700,000 Kiwis who have a respiratory disease in New Zealand. A rowing machine will take a prime position in the office with the team taking turns throughout September to achieve the goal.

Letitia Harding, Chief Executive, ARFNZ believes that promoting lung health is more important now than ever.

"New Zealand also has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world with 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 7 children living with the condition. Breathe Better September is a fun way to help raise the national profile of respiratory health in New Zealand and encourage better breathing" says Letitia.

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

This year, there is also the new addition of a ‘Lockdown Bubble Challenge’ for those self-isolating during September, with Auckland-based ARFNZ Ambassador Erin Simpson getting involved from her home during COVID-19 lockdown.

"As someone that lives with asthma I know how important it is to stay fit and look after myself to keep my asthma under control," says Erin.

"So that's why I’m going to climb Mt Everest from the comfort of my own home! I will need to climb 17,475 stairs - we have 18 stairs at home so that’s 970 flights I’ll need to climb. I’ve signed up and can’t wait to get started on 1st September!"

Registrations to become a Better Breathing Hero are now open. To find out more about the campaign, or to sign-up, visit: www.breathebetterseptember.co.nz