As part of World Asthma Day (May 5, 2009) – Lek For Better Breathing bicycling marathon to raise awareness about living with asthma

Lek cyclists with Marko Baloh begin 650 kilometer ride around Slovenia

12. 5. 2009

Ljubljana, May 12, 2008 – This morning in Kranjska Gora a team of 11 cyclists from Lek with ultra-marathon cyclist Marko Baloh at the head began Lek’s second For Better Breathing bicycling marathon, which the Asthma and Sports Association is organizing in cooperation with Lek, a Sandoz company, as part of the activities surrounding World Asthma Day. In four days they will ride around 650 kilometers, and their route will take them from Kranjska Gora through Prevalje, Moravce, Lendava and Rogaška Slatina to Ljubljana, where they will arrive on Friday.

Through the Lek For Better Breathing bicycling marathon we want to draw attention to the growing incidence of asthma and allergies, talk about the success of prevention with asthma and promote regular exercise, which is extremely important for overcoming the disease. We organized the marathon last year together with Lek, a Sandoz company, and accompanied it with our Asthma Schools. People in towns all over Slovenia showed interest in it, so this year we have decided to hit the road again,” said Dr. Milan Hosta of the Asthma and Sports Association, who added: “With asthma, drugs are the key to good treatment, but physical activity plays an extremely important role in getting patients used to living a healthy lifestyle. Correct breathing, being relaxed and overcoming fear and anxiety are extremely important when asthma is progressing.

At the starting line the cyclists were greeted by children from the Kekec’s Heroes Daycare Center in Kranjska Gora, who were taught about correct breathing and the importance of exercise in a child-friendly manner by Uroš Reisman of the Asthma and Sports Association. The mobile team from the Asthma and Sports Association left the starting line together with the cyclists, and will follow them and hold Asthma Schools in towns all over Slovenia. At the lectures, visitors receive a great deal of information about asthma and also learn some effective measures and exercises that ease breathing and prevent serious deterioration. In addition to the daycare center in Kranjska Gora (May 12), presentations will be held in Prevalje (May 13), at the Fokovci Elementary School in Moravske toplice (May 14) and in Rogaška Slatina (May 15).

According to research data from the year 2000, more and more people are developing asthma in Slovenia, of whom at least 14 percent are children and youths. The approach of the Asthma and Sports Association, which emphasizes medicines as the primary factor in effective treatment and also focuses on physical activity, is positive. Therefore we at Lek, a Sandoz company, believe that together with the Asthma and Sports Association we can contribute to raising awareness about the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle for people with asthma. We are involved in long-term collaboration with the Association, which has already borne fruit in the form of the program of spreading information about living with asthma – for two years we have worked together on World Asthma Day and together we have planned the Lek For Better Breathing bicycling marathon, and in addition we have made it possible for 10 children with asthma to go on holiday and have one month of swimming, which the Association organizes for both children and adults with asthma,” said Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški, Head of Corporate Communications at Lek, a Sandoz company, who added that Sandoz uses its many years of experience to develop technically demanding products for people with asthma which markedly improve the quality of their lives.

For further information contact:

Dr. Milan Hosta

Asthma and Sports Association

Phone: + 386 41 518 824