Asthma is one of the most common respiratory complaints in the world today and affects approximately one in ten children (10%) and one in twenty adults (5%).
But, thanks to the availability of treatment, asthmatics can lead normal lives – which includes participating in sport. In fact, some of South Africa's top sports people, like Olympic swimmer Roland Schoeman and Sibusiso Vilane, who in 2003 became the first black African to reach the top of Mount Everest, are affected by asthma.
Does your child suffer from asthma?
Then read these real-life stories of Cape Town children who've managed to take control of their condition:
Monique Thomas (13)
Monique was first diagnosed with asthma when she was fourteen months old. But thanks to the treatment she received at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, Monique hasn't had a single asthma attack in the last three years. "She is now off all her medication," her mom says.
Monique excels at gymnastics and represents the Western Province in this sport. In fact, she loves the sport so much that she says she does "gymnastics for a living". She has competed in the SA Nationals, taking part in several disciplines, including floor, vault and beam work.
One day, Monique would love to become a physiotherapist.
Read: How to look after children with asthma
Tara Chamberlain (13)
Gymnastics is also the activity of choice for Tara, who has been suffering from asthma for the past five years.
With the help of her asthma reliever and preventer, Tara manages to control her asthma and only occasionally suffers an attack – particularly during spring and autumn.
Although Tara has only been taking part in gymnastics for ten months, she already managed to represent the Western Cape at the recent USSASA Summer Games. At this event, she won two medals.
Annestia Morta (15)
"She couldn't have received better treatment," says Annestia's mother of the treatment her daughter received at the Red Cross Children's Hospital since she was first diagnosed with asthma at the age of seven months.
Today, Annestia is an all-rounder who is also a keen spiritual dancer at her church. She is only in Grade 8 and already has great plans for the future and intends to become a child psychologist.
Read: Your asthmatic child at school
Leon Hoffmann (10)
Leon has been an asthmatic since he was five months old. Thanks to the medication he still uses and always carries with him, his asthma is now under control.
Leon loves ballroom dancing – an activity he has been taking part in since he was six years old. In a recent competition, he won nine gold medals and was first in all the categories in which he participated. He also takes part in rugby and is looking forward to going on his first Boy Scouts camp soon.
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