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GSK launches its Asthmalaya campaign for World Asthma Day

Asthma is not a joke and I personally know why. All my kids had asthma as kids. My sister and I also suffered from asthma as kids. An aunt died of asthma complications. And I had a scary episode with one of my kids because of an asthmatic episode.

Asthma is NOT to be taken lightly.

For these reasons, I am always supportive of campaigns that draw attention to asthma and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. That is why, as World Asthma Day was being celebrated a few weeks back, I lent my support to GSK’s ASTHMAlaya Campaign.

Resource speakers

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GlaxoSmithKline announces the new winners in its Search for the Winners Against Asthma (SWAA)

Back in February 2015, I attended a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) event where they announced that they were launching a Search for the Winners Against Asthma (SWAA). This nationwide search meant to find young achievers 30 years old and below who were outstanding in their respective fields despite suffering from asthma. The search was meant to portray hope that asthma, although a chronic disease, could be overcome in different ways.

Here is my February post covering the search’s launch.

Meet the winners!

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GSK continues the fight by launching the Search for Winners Against Asthma 2015

The battle to win against asthma will never end. In the Philippines, over 10 million cases have been documented of people with asthma and it remains the most common chronic childhood disease. Children who suffer from asthma are oftentimes over-protected by parents and their activities are curtailed so as not to trigger an asthma episode.

I grew up with asthma in the family. My own asthma was not very bad but my sister’s was worse. All my kids also had childhood asthma. An aunt on my husband’s side died from an asthma attack. Asthma cannot be taken lightly as it can be fatal. But the good news is that it can be controlled.

Last year, GSK went on an all-out campaign to fight asthma.

Read my post on how one can still lead a great life even with asthma.

Aside from their brand ambassadors, Arnel Pineda of Journey and actress Kim Chiu, GSK now has a new brand ambassador — Olympic figure skater Michael Christian Martinez.

I had been following Michael’s journey all the way to the Olympics and knew that he indeed was an asthmatic. In past interviews, I remember Michael saying that the cold skating rink actually helped improve his health. His mom, who would accompany him to all his trainings and competition, was fully supportive of his sport and told Michael that she would rather “spend the money on skating than in the hospital”.

The Search for Winners Against Asthma

This year, GSK is taking the fight against asthma further by launching the Win Against Asthma Today advocacy campaign aimed at increasing awareness and amplifying efforts to spread information about the risks of asthma and how it can be controlled.

This time, they are looking for young asthmatic achievers who can show that one can live and pursue one’s passions in life despite having asthma.

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Lead a great life in spite of asthma

I come from a family with a history of asthma. I myself had childhood asthma though not too severe and during a couple of pregnancies, it came back even if I had already outgrown it. I also had to deal with asthma during the growing years of all my kids and I have to tell you that it is no joke.

Asthma is what I call “traydor na sakit” (traitor disease). It doesn’t look too alarming but in reality, it has been the cause of many deaths even among young people. The triggers can happen any time and anywhere — something you eat, something in the air — and suddenly your airways start to constrict. You start having difficulty breathing and it creates panic and pressure on the heart as well. Several celebrities in the past died young just because of an asthma episode, including a young model.

At a recent GSK event, I listened to one of the GSK doctors, Dr. Bernadette Arcilla, talk about asthma. It affects about 10.7M people in the Philippines now. 250,000 annual deaths worldwide are attributed to asthma. Of those deaths, majority are 45 years old and older. With children, asthma is the most frequent cause of absenteeism from school, emergency visits and hospitalization. Scary stats. I can remember so many instances when we’d rush to the emergency room of the hospital because one of our kids could not breathe well and would be wheezing. We always had a nebulizer with us at home and on trips. When they were older, they had to be taught to use an inhaler and carry this with them all the time.

But asthmatics are fighting back. And, hopefully, winning the war against asthma. That is a very important inspirational message for so many Pinoys who are similarly affected by asthma. Your life is not curtailed by it. You can still live a meaningful life and engage even in sports in spite of your condition.

At the event, two local celebrities, who were asthmatics, shared about their own battles against asthma  — Kim Chiu and Arnel Pineda of Journey.

Here are videoclips showing just how they are trying to battle asthma, and win over it:

Hopefully, this Win Against Asthma campaign spearheaded by GSK will bring to the forefront a greater awareness and understanding of asthma — that it is not a debilitating condition, and that people who are asthmatic, with proper treatment and cooperation with doctors and their own personal knowledge on how and when to use the different medicines, can lead the lives they dream of. Just like Kim Chiu and Arnel Pineda.