Tuesday 20 November, 2007
A world champion gymnast and a woman who has swum Cook Strait—both who have bad asthma—were among the Asthma and Respiratory Supreme Achievers presented with trophies by the Governor-General, Hon Anand Satyanand, at Government House in Wellington tonight.
The presentation was part of the 2007 Asthma and Respiratory Awards. The awards, which are held every two years, acknowledge and celebrate people with respiratory conditions who do not let anything stand in the way of their taking a positive attitude to life and achieving things.
From the 150-plus nominees that flooded in from around the country eight winners were selected by judging panels in nine categories (one Supreme Achiever won two Awards). A number of the awards are Rangatira (Maori) awards.
Asthma and Respiratory Foundation Executive Director Jane Patterson says: “these awards acknowledge people who deal with sometimes very tough challenges in their lives. They will also hopefully raise people’s awareness that asthma and other respiratory conditions can still jeopardise people’s well-being; can even threaten their lives. Asthma is the number one reason for hospitalizations among kids in New Zealand.”
There are two SPARC awards that recognise people with asthma who with their physical activities are great role models for everyone, whether they have a respiratory condition or not.
SPARC Award: Annabeth Kew, 61, who lives in Paraparaumu, has a fascinating life story. Annabeth found herself looking for a new direction in life, after her son died at the age of 25. She also developed asthma around that time. She and husband Alan got bikes and started doing lots of tourist cycling. Annabeth has now cycled from Perth, Western Australia across the Nullaboor Desert to South Australia; she has ridden from Los Angeles to Florida (over 4500km) and over the Swiss Alps.
Rangatira Open Supreme Achiever (and Rangatira SPARC Award): Hana Wolzak, 47, had the goal of swimming Cook Strait since 1976. Hana made another attempt at Cook Strait before succeeding in April this year. She is the oldest woman to have ever swum the strait.
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SPARC is the government agency charged with promoting, encouraging and supporting sport and physical recreation in New Zealand. For more information, visit www.sparc.org.nz.