14-year-old Faamanatu Ofisa lives and breathes rugby, but sometimes finds it hard to breathe full stop.

Faamanatu, or Natu as he is known, was diagnosed in 2021 with severe bronchiectasis.

Bronchiectasis is a condition where the breathing tubes in the lungs have been damaged, enlarged and scarred – primarily due to infection.

Natu often feared for his future in the early days of his diagnosis.

“One of the challenges I faced was always thinking that I would never achieve anything in my life because of the condition I have.”

However, after multiple trips to the hospital and recognising his limitations, he tried hard to focus on his health.

“Looking after my health made me feel a lot better.

“I think that I’ve really made a difference in my condition by taking care of my lungs.”

His specialists have praised him for his outstanding self-management, and for always smiling.

Natu hopes to continue to play rugby and “try my best in everything life throws at me”.

Natu was the winner of the Other Respiratory Conditions Award at the 2024 Respiratory Achievers’ Awards on Thursday.

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