The co-founder of Open Airways came in for a big ‘thank you’ from the Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, on her retirement on behalf on World Asthma Day.
Speaking at an event held yesterday (May 2), held at Victoria Park, the Minister noted that Ms Boden has worked for many years to help improve asthma care in Bermuda with “commitment”.
“While I have heard that Liz will be retiring shortly, knowing Liz, I genuinely believe that her work and the impact of her work will continue far into the future,” said Ms Wilson.
“In 1994, after receiving a diploma in Asthma Care from the National Asthma Training Centre in the UK, Liz set up shop here in Bermuda. She began offering free asthma education to anyone in need. That free asthma education continues today – right here today in Victoria Park!
“That’s well over 10 thousand days Liz has dedicated to helping patients with asthma!
“And for those of you who know Liz, she will have tried to help people in some form all of those 10 thousand days!Open Airways was officially registered as a Bermuda charity on January 20, 2005.
“Throughout all this time, Liz has been passionate about helping those with asthma. She has deep compassion [and a proper understanding] for those struggling to understand their condition,” she added.
“Liz has spent her life improving the lives of others, and has also saved lives. We thank you, Liz, on behalf of Bermuda and the many people you have helped. In Bermuda, it is estimated that 1 in five (5) children and 1 in 10 adults have asthma.
“Liz stresses – “Asthma is common, distressing, disabling, misunderstood, life-threatening and treatable.”
The Minister also noted that on average, “four people visit the emergency department daily for asthma and breathing concerns”.
“Asthma is a huge problem to tackle. Liz has done a great job with that incredible task!
“Emergency Room visits have declined dramatically during her career, especially for those under 18. Since the inception of Open Airways, Asthma Admissions to the hospital are down an incredible 82 percent!
She also reflected on the variety of awards presented to Ms Boden over the years, saying: “In 1999, Liz was voted ‘Nurse of the Year’ by the Bermuda Health Department.
“In 2000, Liz received the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the field of Public Health’ award.
“In 2006, she received the annual ‘Salute to Service Award’ from the Bermuda Health Foundation.
“In 2007, Liz received the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for her work in asthma care in Bermuda.
“Liz was instrumental in the establishment of the Bermuda Hospital Board’s Asthma Education Centre.”
More recently, particularly during the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, she said: “Liz was instrumental in establishing Open Airway’s Medication Assistance Program to help those unemployed, uninsured or under-insured to obtain affordable asthma and COPD medications.
“This programme has had a profound impact on so many in our community.
“The success of Open Airways has been published in international respiratory journals as a model of asthma care for other countries around the world,” said Ms Wilson.
“Liz has presented the Bermuda Asthma Education Model multiple times at International conferences.
“Through all of these awards and recognitions, the most important recognitions for Liz, and closest to her heart, are the comments from patients — on how their health has improved due to Liz’s care, how they are now able to breathe more freely and easily because she taught them how to control their asthma.
“One older patient, before meeting and coming under the care of Liz, was barely able to walk a short distance down the street. After Liz’s help, this patient completed the End to End,” she added.
The Minister went on to say that another patient’s wife wrote: “I can’t tell you what an impact you have had on Bill. He is like a man who has been given a new lease on life! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, thank you! You have given him the greatest gift possible!”
On behalf of people of Bermuda, and the many patients Ms Boden has helped over the years, the Minister concluded: “We thank you.
“Thank you for helping Bermuda to breathe. I wish you the very best in your retirement!”