Asthma and Respiratory Foundation’s (ARFNZ) annual Breathe Better September campaign wrapped up last week, raising over $15,500 in donations, with a record 267 Better Breathing Heroes taking part.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of asthma and other respiratory conditions and encourages all Kiwis to step up to show their support for better breathing, and to improve their own respiratory health.

Nick Ashill, a marketing professor from Wellington, raised almost $2,500 by taking on an epic 24-hour run around Wellington city. Nick’s friends and colleagues joined him and supported him along the way as he ran a 6km loop around the city from 9am on Friday 24 September to 9am on Saturday 25 September.

Breathe Better September is a campaign which is close to Nick’s heart, having lost his mum to the rare respiratory disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2017. And as an ultra-marathon runner, he decided that the best way to raise awareness and funds would be to do what he loves best and take on an epic running challenge!

"It was a honour to support the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation," says Nick. "So many runners joined me, including people personally affecting by respiratory illness. The weather for the run was amazing and the rain stayed away. The hardest part was midnight to 6am, the legs definitely slowed down during this time but my running buddies David Barclay and Mehmet Donmez kept me going. A special thanks to these two amazing individuals."

Nick ran 157km and burned 22,000 calories over the course of the 24 hours. His colleagues and work whānau kept him well fed, and Mark Drew from Tailwind Nutrition offered valuable support with nutrition.

"The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation does an incredible job at supporting Kiwis with respiratory illness," adds Nick. "I look forward to running 48 hours next year!"

ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding is delighted about the amount of support Kiwis have demonstrated throughout this year’s annual appeal month, especially considering the limitations of the COVID-19 lockdown.

"It’s been a wonderful month, and I’ve been so inspired by all the brilliant Kiwis who stepped up to support the 700,000 people in New Zealand who live with respiratory disease. In spite of the lockdown, we saw a record number of people signing up and getting involved, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to every one of them for helping to raise awareness and funds. We can’t wait to do it all again next year, and maybe this time we will reach our $20,000 goal!"

The website is still live, so if you wish to donate to help us get to $20,000 this year, visit


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