The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand has an ambitious goal for World Asthma Day tomorrow, it wants to raise enough money to provide an Asthma Emergency Kit to all Kiwi primary schools that need one.
"These kits provide schools with the medication and knowledge they need to take action in a potentially life-threatening asthma emergency," explains Foundation Chief Executive Letitia Harding. "With 1 in 8 New Zealanders living with asthma, we know that every class in every school will have a child who could benefit from this resource."
Currently, the kits are available to purchase from the Foundation, but Ms Harding says for some schools cost can be a barrier. "This is such an essential resource that we want to ensure all schools can have them, which is why we have this current fundraising campaign."
The Foundation is hoping to raise $20,000 which would provide kits to 400 primary schools. "Every dollar raised will go towards the kits. The Foundation receives no Government funding, so we are calling on the generosity of New Zealanders to hopefully exceed our goal. The more we raise, the more schools will benefit." So far, the Foundation has raised $7,390 through its worldasthmaday.org.nz fundraising site.
Asthma remains a significant health issue for many New Zealanders. An estimated 3,000 children are hospitalised every year due to asthma, and 350,000 school days are lost. "Unfortunately, because asthma is common, it can be mistakenly viewed as not a particularly serious condition. However, it is one of the most common causes of hospital admissions for children and it can lead to death. 98 people die from asthma in New Zealand every year," says Ms Harding. "We cannot become complacent about asthma."
Asthma emergency kits are just one of the essential tools provided by the Foundation to improve the lives of people living with asthma. The Foundation also provides live education shows on asthma to schools, runs a digital asthma classroom and a free online toolkit for parents and teachers, as well as providing a range of digital and print resources in multiple languages. "We also commission research and advocate on issues impacting our respiratory community," explains Ms Harding.
On World Asthma Day, Tuesday 2 May, the Foundation will also host a webinar for parents and caregivers of children with asthma at 7pm. Entitled: "Help your child manage their asthma’, the webinar is an opportunity for parents to put questions to a panel of experts consisting of a respiratory paediatric specialist, the mother of a child with severe asthma and a 12-year-old boy living his best life with asthma. People can register for the webinar here: https://www.worldasthmaday.org.nz/worldasthmadaywebinar
More about the World Asthma Day fundraising campaign can be found here: https://www.worldasthmaday.org.nz/