Kim Chiu, Arnel Pineda, Michael Christian Martinez: Winners against asthma

WHEN I was in high school, I developed asthma. I suffered from it through college. The doctors my mother consulted with diagnosed it as bronchial asthma. I was young and didn’t understand much of what the doctors were saying, except that I had to take some anti-asthma pill each time I felt I was going to have an attack. It was a routine I had to embrace or I’d be confined to bed and unable to do anything except wait till the wheezing while breathing subsided.

Achievers despite
having asthma:
vocalist Arnel Pineda
In college, my doctor recommended swimming, so I took it as a subject in Physical Education at the UP and continued on till I graduated. Gradually, I had few asthma attacks until after college when it totally disappeared. In its place, I developed allergic rhinitis, which is manageable by taking antihistamine pills.

But I didn’t know that Kim Chiu, Arnel Pineda, and Michael Christian Martinez have asthma. All three appear as normal like everyone else who isn’t afflicted with it. And they have accomplished so much in their respective fields.

These three celebrities are all winners against asthma.

Actress Kim Chiu
Kim Chiu said during the launch for The Search for Winners Against Asthma 2015 on Feb. 5 at Makati Shangri-La Hotel she is able to embrace the fact that she has asthma after her doctor said that she can continue doing what she does as a TV personality only if she would make sure that she is with her maintenance medicine and other ant-asthma attack paraphernalia.

“Swerte ko naman, nandito pa rin naman ako, at kaharap nyo ako ngayon,” she told members of the press at the launch.

The campaign aims to choose and recognize 10 young asthmatic achievers from different walks of life.

The advocacy likewise introduces Olympic figure skater Michael Christian Martinez as the new face of the campaign. Martinez has asthmatic bronchitis since he was just two months old.

He recalls being in the hospital frequently and says the cold rink actually helped improve his health. “Year after year my health keeps improving, so my mother fully supported me to continue skating saying it’s better to spend the money on skating than in the hospital.”

The program is a nationwide search for young asthmatic achievers aged 30 years and younger who are outstanding in their respective fields despite having asthma and inspire asthma sufferers that they, too, can win against asthma.

Figure skater Michael Martinez
The rationale for the target age group is driven by the fact that asthma is one of the most important chronic diseases during childhood causing substantial morbidity. Uncontrolled asthma is associated with a reduced lung function, impaired performance in physical exercise, and impaired quality of life. More severe asthma leads to more frequent school absenteeism which may negatively affect an individual’s level of education and, possibly, choice of career. People within this age group are in the process of developing the necessary knowledge and skills that will enable them to achieve their goals in life and asthma should not deter them from realizing their full potential. Thus it is necessary at this early stage to raise their awareness on asthma and how they can win against it.

The Search for Winners Against Asthma will run from February until May 2015 and will be touring different schools and drugstore outlets to spread the advocacy and invite more people to join the campaign.

The deadline for submission of entries is on March 31. All entries will be screened during the first week of April. As we celebrate World Asthma Day on May 5, the top 20 finalists will be announced and will be immediately followed by online voting. The top 10 Winners Against Asthma will be announced and awarded by the 3rd week of May.

The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP), Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (PSAAI), Huawei and Folded & Hung support the advocacy.

For more information, visit

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