Last updated on 11/04/2019

The Christopher van Leeuwen Foundation has raised $40,000 in donations including financial support from The Green Shed Canberra and Asthma Australia, to give Australians better access to a vital Asthma App.

Improving access to lifesaving asthma information is especially important to the van Leeuwen family who lost their beloved son and brother, Christopher, from an asthma attack in 1967.

Launched in Canberra today the free Asthma App can now be downloaded on Android devices in addition to Apple, thanks to funds raised.

Built by Asthma Australia, the Asthma App helps users manage asthma at home and in a clinical setting, to ultimately prevent asthma attacks.

Since its inception in 2011, the Christopher van Leeuwen Foundation has raised funds for Asthma Australia to enable preschool teachers in the ACT to complete the nationally accredited emergency Asthma management training free of charge. In addition 12 of the preschools received a free Asthma emergency kit to ensure the preschool had the correct equipment to respond to an asthma emergency.

 From left to right: Alexander Weaver, Caitlin Nelson, Lynne Reeder, Joyce Van Leeuwen, Therese Vam Leeuwen, Tim Van Leeuwen.
From left to right: Alexander Weaver, Caitlin Nelson, Lynne Reeder, Joyce Van Leeuwen, Therese Vam Leeuwen, Tim Van Leeuwen.

Joyce van Leeuwen, founder and mother, said asthma was misunderstood.

“There was no effective preventative medication for Chris but now there is. With much dedicated research these medications are now available. My hope is that Asthmatics will work with their GP to develop their Asthma plan and stick with it, even when they are feeling well. This will be to the benefit of themselves, their families, sporting groups, schools, choirs, friends etc, and will prevent unnecessary hospitalisation and save lives.”

“We wanted to make Chris’ contribution for him and Asthma Australia identified this app as being significant.”

“The realisation of this app was a combined effort. Thank you to my family, my friends, the The Green Shed, The Greater Good and Asthma Australia for their support and good work,” Mrs van Leeuwen concluded.

2.7 million Australians have asthma, a life-long condition which will affect two thirds of Australians through a family member, friend or colleague.

CEO of Asthma Australia Michele Goldman said the Christopher van Leeuwen Foundation had made an enormous contribution to support people with asthma right around the country.

 “Asthma contributes to thousands of avoidable hospitalisations each year and impacts people negatively on a daily basis. The key to changing this is to better educate and support individuals on treatments which works for them and to better support the primary health care system.  This App is one tool you can access anywhere, anytime to assist you,” Ms Goldman said.

“I hold Joyce and her family in the highest of respect. What they have achieved over the past 10 years has made a significant difference,” she said.

Mrs van Leeuwen said the ceremony today marked a special anniversary for the family.

“This month would have been my son Christopher’s 60th birthday,” she said.