News Release

Supreme Achiever Aalyana Speaks at Government House

Not every 10-year-old gets to give a speech in front of the Governor General at Governor House. But this week Aalyana Iosefa from Red Beach School, Whangaparaoa, was an invited speaker at the National Supreme Achiever Awards for the Asthma Foundation.

Although she is only ten years old, Aalyana is no stranger to public speaking. Since she was a small child she has participated actively in her local Mormon congregation, where she has been given many opportunities to give talks in front of children and adults. Last Sunday she confidently spoke about her faith in front of a large congregation. Aalyana, her mother Alesha, and her extended family are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hibiscus Ward of the Church. She takes an active part in church activities, and when she is sick the ward members are a great support to her and her family.

Aalyana has dealt with the challenges of being a severe asthmatic throughout her life. She herself won a Supreme Achiever Award from the Asthma Foundation in 2009. It was perhaps because of her example that she received the invitation to speak to this year's new recipients about her experience dealing with severe asthma.

The gentle and quietly spoken Aalyana wrote most of her talk herself for the ceremony. At the awards ceremony she spoke of how much she appreciated receiving her own award in 2009 since it was only a few months after her 11-year-old brother Auztin had passed away suddenly. He also had life threatening asthma and together they had supported each other.

She says, "When I received my supreme achievers award, I felt happy and excited. It was a very special event in my life and I won't forget it. Everybody was so nice and supportive. I loved coming to Wellington and meeting the other award winners and especially the Governor General."

Describing herself as a "frequent flyer" at Starship Hospital she also spoke of her struggles with asthma and of how she responds to other challenges.

"Even though it's difficult for me to play sport, I play netball and volleyball. I go to the pool when we have the time and go for runs on days that I can. My family and I try to think of ways I can help myself so that I can participate as much as possible without having trouble with my breathing. This year I managed to swim 750 meters non-stop. At school we are encouraged to be life-long learners and always persevere. I have to persevere every day with my asthma and allergies."

Aalyana says that as she gets older she is learning to understand asthma and how it affects her. She says, "I know that if I continue to set goals, I can achieve them and have fun with the help of my family, friends, teachers and my doctors."

Aalyana attended the event accompanied by her mother Alesha, her aunt Rebecca and her grandmother, Raewyn Maire.


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