Giving Back

Sporting dreams won't be beaten by asthma

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the world – did you know that one in seven NZ children are affected by asthma [source], while asthma is also one of the most common causes of hospital admissions for young Kiwis. [Source]

However, one teenager who is determined to achieve his sporting dreams regardless of asthma is Josh Marker. Josh was the winner of the 13 to 18 years old category at the 2016 New Zealand Respiratory Awards, held earlier this year at Te Papa in Wellington.

Hailing from Maungatapere, Josh has moderately severe asthma – meaning regular check-ups and daily medication. Winter is an especially difficult time of year, with the colder months making Josh more susceptible to exacerbation of his asthma, and also chest infections and pneumonia.

But despite these challenges, Josh hasn’t let this get him down – and instead shown some inspiring determination to compete in a variety of sports. He races BMX nationally; Josh is currently ranked eighth in his age category in New Zealand North Island Titles, and successfully gained a place in a selected high performance squad. Josh also competes in gymnastics in Auckland and Hamilton, with his best result being third place in the vault, and has reached MAG (Male Artistic Gymnastics) Level 5. And if this wasn’t already remarkable enough, he won the school triathlon in his year group earlier this year.

Josh’s mum, Jo Marker says, "He has achieved some impressive results."

Held by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ every two years, the New Zealand Respiratory Awards celebrate Kiwis who are achieving their goals despite their respiratory health conditions.

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is a not-for-profit organisation committed to those affected by asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Their "Breath Better September" campaign is a national movement to get Kiwis committed to better breathing and healthy lungs.

If you’re interested in finding out more, or want to get involved or donate to the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, visit

Photos supplied by the Asthma & Respiratory Foundation NZ