Being Patron of many Western Australian not-for-profits brings me great joy and is one of the things I love most about being Governor of WA. It allows me to advocate for organisations, shining a spotlight on the vital role they play in our State. It also allows me to meet a great deal of people I ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet. I love listening to people tell their stories, to hear their passion and understand their heritage.

Asthma WA is no exception. The work this organisation does is crucial in providing Western Australians with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with detailed personalised support through comprehensive education about how to use medications, how to manage symptoms and even asthma first aid.

I imagine being unable to breathe properly would be terrifying. I have been blessed with children whose lives have been unaffected by asthma but I do know many people who suffer from the disease who have told me the moments of not being able to breathe really do bring about panic and a ‘flashing of life before their eyes’.

I am proud to be a Patron of Asthma WA. Holding the position of Governor, and Patron, allows me the opportunity to help draw attention to the great work this long-serving Western Australian organisation does and the people it supports daily. If I can assist the organisation to reach more people in WA through education and support or help Asthma WA to generate more donations to fund new equipment and programs, then that’s a perfect example of why Patronage is so important.

COVID-19 has understandably increased the fear around asthma, given its ability to compromise the respiratory system. This global pandemic is just another reason why Asthma WA, its people and its services are so important. Asthma WA provides security and valuable support along with compassion and knowledge in how to manage this condition day-to-day.

The pandemic has also brought challenges which have required Asthma WA to act with flexibility and agility to provide additional encouragement to the people of Western Australia. The COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown in terms of the impact it will have on the global community. Research so far suggests the disease can impact people with a pre-existing illness more dramatically than healthy citizens, and clearly this is of more concern to individuals who already suffer from respiratory distress.

As a pro-active, community focused organisation, I look forward with anticipation to how Asthma WA, and indeed all community-building organisations, deal with the COVID journey long-term. Now more than ever is the time to provide guidance, support and opportunities for connection to our residents.

I am also eager to see the developments we are able to make in reducing the amount of people suffering from asthma or COPD in Western Australia. There are 2.7 million people living with asthma in Australia, with 237,000 living here in WA. Given we have a world-class research facility in the Telethon Kids Institute here in Perth, as well as many other scientific and research-based organisations, I would love to see a breakthrough which decreases the number of people living with asthma, or at the very least, decreases the severity of symptoms, annual hospitalisations and especially deaths which result from asthma attacks.

On World Asthma Day I would urge anyone reading this to consider whether you have the means to contribute to this worthy organisation through your time, or through a donation which I know would be gratefully received. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Asthma WA, its staff, Board and volunteers on World Asthma Day for the important work done each and every day to assist people living with asthma and COPD in Western Australia.

The Hon Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia

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