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Silver Fern Casey Williams: 'Let's Hear The People's Stories.'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand's shocking asthma and respiratory statistics mean there are many silent heroes among us with stories that we could all draw inspiration from, says Silver Fern and Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic netballer, Casey Williams.

Calling for nominations for the 2009 Asthma and Respiratory Achievers Awards, Casey said: 'I've fought and keep fighting my own battle with asthma. It impacts on everyone differently, but it's not always just a matter of "use your inhaler and you'll be sweet".'

The Achievers Awards, run by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation every two years, recognise and celebrate people with respiratory illnesses who have a great attitude to life and achieve things, despite the challenges they face. Nominations close on 31 August, 2009. 'We have the second highest rate of asthma in the worldSo many New Zealanders have a respiratory illness and it impacts on their lives to a greater extent than others typically realise. Many Kiwis will be finding winter that extra bit tougher,' Casey says. Award nominations can be made in two main categories - Māori and non-Māori, and four sub-categories - aged 5 to 12 years; aged 13 to 18 years; adult and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). All nominees will receive a certificate from the Foundation. A group of eight Supreme Achievers will be presented with a special award by the Governor-General in Wellington in November. The 2007 Supreme Achievers included a woman with asthma who swam Cook Strait, an Otago man with 40 percent lung capacity who had walked the streets of Dunedin seven times and a 15-year-old girl with asthma who excelled at school across all of her subjects and extracurricular activities. Another Supreme Achiever who was on oxygen 24 hours a day was nominated and selected because he showed a magnificent enthusiasm for his pulmonary rehabilitation work at a local hospital.

About 800 000 New Zealanders have a respiratory illness and with asthma rates of about 1 in 4 children and 1 in 6 adults, we have the second worst asthma statistics after the UK. About 1 in 7 New Zealanders aged 45 or over has COPD - emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

The awards also cover New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis, bronchiolitis, bronchiectasis and other respiratory conditions.

The Māori categories acknowledge the marked severity of respiratory illness among Māori (see Notes to Editors).

Nominations can be made at, where there is also more information about the awards.

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