Living with Asthma and Winning Against It #WinAgainstAsthma

Win Against Asthma

Witnessing the heartbreaking episodes of friends who have asthma, I would often feel grateful to not have to live with it myself. That was until last year when we found out that my athletic hubby has Adult-Onset Asthma. When a diagnosis of asthma is given to people older than 20 years old, it is called Adult-Onset Asthma. There were weeks when we had sleepless nights brought about by his asthma-induced cough. It was a blessing to have found a good Pulmonologist, Dr. Ricardo Salvador. The first couple of months Jeff was given a cocktail of at least 10 medicines.


It turned out, the hubby’s allergic asthma, that was left untreated, turned to become chronic bronchitis. In two of his asthma episodes this past year, both have become chronic bronchitis. It was bad that he was sick several weeks at one time. Yikes! We sure have a lot to learn when it comes to dealing with asthma. Since then, I make sure that Jeff doesn’t leave home without his “rescue medicine” – in case his asthma gets triggered by the metro pollution and our ever bipolar weather. Asthma will make sure it gets in your way when left unmanaged, that’s for sure. He hasn’t had another episode since his last one early this year.  It really pays to learn how to beat the odds rather then give ourselves over to a chronic illness that will limit our quality of life

Asthmatics prove resilience against Asthma


Dr. Gio Barangan on how to #WinAgainstAsthma

A photo posted by jenaspacio (@jenaspacio) on

Incidentally, I recently attended the announcement of GSK’s Search for the Winners Against Asthma (SWAA). I totally agree with Dr. Gio Barangan, GSK Medical Director, when he said that asthma should not deter people who have it from realizing their full potential.  Launched in February of this year was the launch of SWAA. It was a nationwide search for young asthmatic achievers aged 30 years and younger who are remain outstanding in their fields despite of asthma.

#arnelpineda @arnelpineda2007 proves that it’s possible to #WinAgainstAsthma A video posted by jenaspacio (@jenaspacio) on

“A lot of asthma patients have accepted lifestyle restrictions resulting from uncontrolled asthma as the norm, assuming that frequent symptoms, exacerbations and lifestyle limitations are an inevitable consequence of having asthma. With the Search for Winners Against Asthma campaign, we hope to encourage and inspire more young people to live their lives to the fullest and not let asthma prevent them from doing the things they love.” Dr. Barangan also credits actress Kim Chiu, International Rock superstar Arnel Pineda, and Filipino Olympic Figure Skater Michael Christian Martinez for helping them spread awareness of this campaign.

“Kim, Arnel and Michael are asthmatics who have proven not only to themselves but to the entire world that they can take control of their condition and never let their asthma stop them from following their dreams and achieving success in their very competitive careers,” Barangan added.


From amongst almost 2,000 entries, the above winners were announced as the Search for Winners Against Asthma was concluded at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel on October 7, 2015. These asthmatic achievers did not let asthma limit them.


Search for Winners Against Asthma Youth Category (19 years old and below)

Christian Lacza, a student from Navotas City was judged as the grand prize winner. Christian is one of the 2014 Kabayan Ten Outstanding Public School Students, and 2014 Ten Outstanding Youth Leaders of Navotas City. He was also an awardee of the 2010 Gawad Huwarang Kabataan of the Antolin Oreta Sr. Foundation and Gawad Modelong Kabataan: Galing at Dangal ng Malabon of the Arnold Vicencio Foundation. He is also the youngest recipient of the Orator of the Year Award in Navotas National High School.

“When I was young, my asthma attacks were so severe that my mother would have to bring me to the hospital almost weekly. This made me realize that if I cannot excel in physical activities, I have to discover and focus on my other strengths,” says Christian.

Runners-up Winners (Youth Category):

Christina Chua, 15 year old; student and dancer

Andre Rafael and Anton Joachim Montero, Taekwondo twins

Kenneth Angelo Bagay, consistent student scholar

Dave Andre Labaton who is also a taekwondo medalist.

Search for Winners Against Asthma Adult Category

Teesha Banta, incoming third year medical student  was judged as the winner. The 23-year old student from St. Luke’s College of Medicine, was a full scholar in her first two years of med school and graduated Cum Laude from University of the Philippines Los Banos with the degree of BS Biology Major in Wildlife Biology.

“Asthma runs in our family but symptoms of severe asthma began when I was in college, which, unfortunately, was also the time when I was so involved in my schoolwork and scouting. My mother, who is a doctor and is also an asthmatic, helped me through most of myjourney by taking care of meand reminding me to take my medicines. Actually, because of my asthma, I had to temporarily stop med school because bed rest was advised. But it did not stop me from taking a part-time job as a high school Science teacher. Besides being a doctor, teaching was my second dream job”, Teesha narrates. “Every time I have my asthma attacks, the only thing on my mind is to get well so I could go back to studying and become a doctor to prove that asthma should not stop you from pursuing your dreams.”

Runners- Up (Adult Category)

Ianna Engaño, UP student , an athlete, musician, artist and social activist.

Yasmin Versoza, a firefighter and member of the Marikina City Fire Truck crew

Christianne de Vera, a triathlete

Yliah Nina Bosch, a registered nurse who is working as an Emergency Nurse Responder at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Part of the judging committee were Dr. Eileen Aniceto from Philippine College of Chest Physicians; Dr. Therese Leopando from Philippine Academy of Pediatric Pulmonologists; and Dr. Carmela Kasala from Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Inc.

The SWAA winners received the following prizes: Huawei P7 Smart Phone; Five Thousand (PhP5,000) worth of GCs from Folded & Hung and Twenty Five Thousand (PhP25,000) worth of Sodexo gift certificates. For more information about the Search for Winners Against Asthma campaign, visit

Living with Asthma and Winning Against It #WinAgainstAsthma

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