SUNSHINE COAST: Swimmers Taylor and Kaylee McKeown have announced they will become ambassadors for Asthma Australia, seeking to raise awareness of the condition and inspire others to take control of asthma.
The pair are in contention to qualify for the Commonwealth Games this year and say they would like to use their profile to show that with good asthma management you can achieve great things.
Taylor McKeown is twenty-two and is already a medal winner, receiving gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
She is also one of the 2.5 million Australians with asthma.
Taylor said, “A lot of people think asthma is a debilitating lung disease that stops you from doing any exercise, that’s not true. For most people if you get the right treatment and stick to it, you can do anything!”
Asthma Australia CEO, Michele Goldman is thrilled to have the sisters on board, “Ambassadors like Taylor and Kaylee really help us to show that you can lead a full and active life when asthma is well-managed. As role models that young people can relate to who have asthma and are excelling in their field they provide hope, particularly for anyone who is struggling with their asthma.”
Both sisters were diagnosed with asthma at a young age.
Taylor said, “I was re-hospitalised a few months after being born because of breathing problems. I believe it wasn’t long after that that I was first treated for asthma.”
Raised in Queensland the sisters grew up around the water and began swimming competitively in school.
When Taylor qualified for the Queensland Academy of Sport she underwent standard medical testing and was then referred to a specialist for her asthma.
Taylor said specialist treatment was vital for her and she advises others who are struggling with asthma to seek medical help to get asthma under control.
“I hardly need to use reliever medication at all now that I’m on the right treatment and my asthma is really well managed,” she said.
Sixteen-year-old Kaylee said having her sister to show her the way has been helpful, “Taylor’s influenced me because she has been through everything before, she’s showed me how to deal with different climates and other factors that can affect asthma.
When you’re swimming at a high level it can be difficult, you have to monitor your medication, what doses you can take, so we help each other out with that.”
The pair decided to become ambassadors as they recognise the excellent services provided by Asthma Australia and the impact that asthma can have when not well managed.
As athletes the sisters know that physical fitness is part of overall asthma management, and also appreciate the importance of being diligent with asthma medication, so they can train and perform at their best.
Kaylee said; “People ask if swimming helps with asthma and our answer is really that swimming is great, so are other sports, but if you’re struggling with asthma you really need to go to the doctor to get the treatment that’s best for you, that’s how you will get it under control.”
Taylor said; “We are really keen to show that asthma does not have to limit your potential. We want to support Asthma Australia in helping people with asthma and also creating better education and awareness about asthma in the wider community.”
Ms Goldman noted that persistence is key in getting asthma under control; “Getting medical help and the right treatment and making sure they stick to their medication has obviously been very important. We are delighted to have Taylor and Kaylee on board and will of course be cheering for them when the Games begin.”