After a near-fatal asthma attack as a child, Aucklander Taumata O Te Ra Nga Hau E Wha O Te Motu Lowe knew he wanted to do something special to celebrate reaching his 21st birthday.
He was inspired to both challenge himself and give back to others living with asthma by organising a 21km fundraising run for the Foundation.
“I’ve had asthma my whole life and had some bad experiences. I was fortunate not to die, and so I felt like running 21kms for 21 years was a fitting way to give back and help others,” he explains.
Taumata rallied family and friends for the run, which started off at Red Hill in Papakura. They raised more than $600, with Taumata and two others running the full distance and other supporters joining for parts of the course.
For a confessed ‘non-runner’, Taumata knew the event would be a bit of a slog. “I do cross-fit and weights, but I knew this was going to be a challenge and it went as well as I expected! But I felt really grateful to be able to do it.”
Taumata experienced a severe asthma attack when he was eight years old. “I remember coming home from school and not feeling that good and the next minute I was waking up later in hospital. They told me I’d been resuscitated in the ambulance,” he recalls.
While that experience was terrifying for Taumata and his family, he found that learning more about his condition, understanding the symptoms and getting a good grasp of how to manage his asthma, allowed him to get on with an active life.
“I found my asthma got better as I got fitter. But even now, it can flare up. Spring can be a difficult time,” he says.
After the success of the run, Taumata is planning on organising a bigger fundraising event in the future. “It’s such a good thing to be able to do and it would be awesome to do it again.”
Taumata (second from right) with his support crew. Photo: supplied.