12-year-old Charleigh Skelton-Morris’ journey to the world stage is marked by both triumph and challenge.

The Manawatū girl has just qualified for the Hip Hop World Championships in Portugal with her dance crew, all the while managing the daily struggles of living with asthma.

Her achievements were recognised at the 2024 Respiratory Achievers’ Awards on Thursday, winning the Asthma (5 - 12 years old) Award.

Charleigh says it took a lot of hard work to compete in dance and manage her asthma, but she hopes her determination will inspire others.

“I am really proud of making worlds for hip hop for my Anomaly crew ‘Yung Tribe’.

“I’m also really proud of myself for controlling my asthma so well that I am able to get involved in lots of activities like this,” she says.

“I hope other kids that have asthma will do this too.”

Charleigh has suffered from asthma since she was three years old and has had multiple hospital admissions including to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), she says.

“My scariest visit was when I had my asthma attack in Tauranga and I spent a week in ICU because the doctors couldn’t get my oxygen levels back up.

“When I start having an attack, I struggle to breathe and I can’t relax.”

Charleigh is terrified of ending up back in hospital, so she makes sure she takes steps to prevent this from happening, she says.

“I get really worried and I don’t like going to hospital because I may have to get a line in me and I have to take lots of medicine which makes me really nauseous and shaky.”

In addition to dance, Charleigh is keen runner, enjoys netball and is taking lead roles in a number of musicals.

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