More than one million people were reached worldwide by the Global Airway Health Day 2020 campaign and its first-ever O2 Breathe-A-Thon.
That accomplishment was the product of an intensive social media, marketing and informational campaign as well as strategic partnerships leading up to the commemoration of the annual international day on Oct. 2, which was capped by a 12-hour live webathon that reached several thousand people and featured more than 60 guest speakers from Australia, Canada, India and the United States.
Using the hashtag #AirwayHealthDay, the awareness campaign received the support of international stars, celebrities and social media influencers that included rock band Journey’s Arnel Pineda, world-famous American Dr. Drew Pinsky, Indian actress Dalijiet Kaur, and Miss Colombia 2014 and Miss Universe 2015 Runner-up Ariadna Gutierrez–all of whom recorded public service announcements for the occasion.
Global Airway Heath Day was also supported by major organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), whose thousands of members are among the best positioned medical professionals in the detection of airway health issues as they work in the oral cavities of their patients everyday. In fact, ADA President Chad P. Gehani and ADAA President Robynn Roxse made presentations during the O2 Breathe-A-Thon.
With the slogan “Every Breath Counts: How You Breathe Is How You Live,” the webathon presented a diverse program with medical experts, scientific researchers, airway health patients and celebrities on how to breathe and sleep properly and various other topics related to airway health. It also addressed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and wildfires’ air pollution on upper respiratory health. Furthermore, the online event also raised several thousand dollars for foundation programs.
In what may have been some of the most poignant segments, the webathon presented the case of a young woman and her decades-long struggle with lack of energy and behavioral issues, but whose condition’s true medical roots had remained unclear.
Dental surgeon Victor Avis and his 20-something daughter Sydney, from St Louis, Minnesota, were the first guest speakers of the O2 Breathe-A-Thon sharing how she’s had a myriad of health problems related to her airway’s condition and lack of proper sleep since age 2. Her journey is chronicled in a film documentary that’s been three years in the making and which the webathon helped introduce to an international audience.
While Sydney has tried many treatments and devices to help her breathe and sleep better, some specialists have recommended major surgery to open up her airway more. Called maxillary-mandibular advancement, the procedure would bring upper and lower jaws forward to help her breathe better. The surgical operation is scheduled to take place in a few months.
“That was a very powerful story whose happy ending we hope to feature in our next webathon,” says Sal Rodas, executive director of the Foundation for Airway Health. Sydney’s documentary is expected to be completed next year.
For foundation chairman Dr. Howard Hindin, the milestone of more than one million people reached by the message of airway health through the international day and the webathon was like a dream that became true early.
“My goal and dream was to take this message of health and hope to a million people all over the world by 2121,” says Hindin. “We achieved it way ahead of time. And I’m already looking forward to reaching more millions of people in the next year and beyond. Airway health issues are really a pandemic that we must face straight on.
For more information about airway health, its impact to your body and how you may participate and join the movement visit AirwayHealth.org.