After months of deliberations and almost 2,000 entries nationwide, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) recently announced the winners of its Search for the Winners Against Asthma.
Launched in February 2015, the campaign is a nationwide search for young asthmatic achievers aged 30 years and younger who are outstanding in their respective fields despite having asthma.
These achievers inspire fellow asthma sufferers to not let their condition get in the way of their dreams.
“We decided to target this particular age group because asthma is a common chronic disease of childhood leading to reduced activity, school absences, emergency room visits and hospitalizations,” says Dr. Gio Barangan, GSK medical director. “We want to let them know that asthma should not deter them from realizing their full potential.”
In the youth category of 19 years old and below, Christian Lacza, a student from Navotas City, was adjudged grand prize winner.
Christian is one of the 2014 Kabayan Ten Outstanding Public School Students, and 2014 Ten Outstanding Youth Leaders of Navotas City. He is also the youngest recipient of the Orator of the Year Award in Navotas National High School.
“When I was young, my asthma attacks were so severe that my mother would have to bring me to the hospital almost weekly,” says Christian. “This made me realize that if I cannot excel in physical activities, I have to discover and focus on my other strengths. Instead of letting asthma stop me, I stopped asthma from interfering with my life.”
In the adult category, incoming third year medical student, top honors went to Teesha Banta. The 23-year-old student from St. Luke’s College of Medicine was a full scholar in her first two years of medical school, and graduated cum laude from University of the Philippines Los Baños with a degree in BS Biology.
She is a lifetime member in two international honor societies and is actively involved in community service.
“Asthma runs in our family but symptoms of severe asthma began when I was in college,” Teesha narrates. “Because of my asthma, I had to temporarily stop med school since bed rest was advised. This did not stop me from taking a part-time job as a high school science teacher because teaching was my second dream job.”
Teesha says she plans to specialize in pediatric pulmonology so she can treat asthmatic children.
Teesha Banta and Christian Lacsa pose for INQUIRER Super section
Photography TOFF TIOZON
Styling LUIS CARLO SAN JUAN
Makeup and hairstyle JET BABAS
TEESHA Banta Gray beaded pullover, Human