Asthma sufferers can breathe a little easier knowing that the proceeds from this year’s Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) Family Fun Walk/Run will go towards the Asthma Bay at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
ICBL’s assistant vice-president of marketing and product development Wanda Mayers made the announcement yesterday morning at the launch of the 2014 Family Fun Walk and Run.
Mayers said that three years ago the event took on a charitable dimension and proceeds were given to the Asthma Association of Barbados.
They were used for educating the public on the treatment and control of asthma and providing some much needed equipment to persons who may have had financial constraints.
“We did this because, despite its prevalence among Barbadians, this disease is not treated with the gravity that it should be. Asthma is a serious non-communicable disease, but for too long it has been underfunded and taken very lightly among the wider community. The ever-filled Asthma Bay at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital truly reflects the pervasiveness of this disease, which affects people of every age from every walk of life in our community. So to mark our five-year anniversary we wanted to make an even greater impact and this year we are happy to announce that we have partnered with the QEH and the proceeds from this year’s Family Fun Walk And Run will be donated to the Asthma Bay.“
Head of the Accident & Emergency Department Dr. Chaney Williams lauded the efforts of ICBL and said officials wanted to expand the capacity of the Asthma Bay which currently only facilitates 10 persons at a time for treatment that can sometimes take
up to three hours.
“Twenty to 25 per cent of individuals that come to the Accident & Emergency present with asthma and we are still seeing asthma related deaths. Some of the visits are made by frequent attenders; those persons that come to the A&E almost five times a year with a handful presenting almost weekly,” she said.
Well known entertainer and DJ Kirk Brown, one of the ambassadors for this year’s race, suffered with asthma throughout his childhood. “It’s great to see this visibility for asthma. When you have asthma you feel like you’re in a daily battle to stay alive, trying to breathe. I was sick seven days out of the week and was an in-patient at the hospital. QEH was a serious help . . . . so I am happy to be a part of an event like this.”
The ICBL Family Fun Walk And Run will be held on April 28 this year and is comprised of a 10K run, a 5K run and a 5K walk. For the first time individuals and groups will be able to go online to the website familyfun.icb.com.bb, a website created for the sole purpose of registration for the race and keeping participants informed.
The walk that started in 2009 with about 150 people, last year had 1,097 participants. Officials at ICBL are hoping to see as many as 2,000 Barbadians come out to the race. (PR)