|Actor and filmmaker Carlos Moreno Jr. knows first hand the importance of breathing both in his daily life and on the stage. Suffering from asthma for years, he has experienced attacks while working in television shows and seen simple routines like running adversely impacted. Now the Covid-19 pandemic has only made the actor more concerned for his health.
Moreno, whose credits include the Oscar-winning family film "Coco" and sci-fi action blockbuster "Transformers," will talk about his personal experience with respiratory conditions at O2 Breathe-A-Thon, a live online event commemorating Global Airway Health Day on Oct. 2. Established last year by the Foundation for Airway Health, the annual global day aims at raising awareness about airway health that is at the core of the nonprofit's mission.
Not surprisingly, this year's webathon will also address urgent matters related to the Covid-19 crisis.
"I already know how you feel when you can't breathe," says Moreno referring to one of Covid symptoms. He also knows his breathing problem makes him vulnerable in the pandemic.
People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "COVID-19 can affect your nose, throat, lungs (respiratory tract); cause an asthma attack; and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease," says the CDC on its website.
That risk is always in his mind, says Moreno, the actor. "I'm afraid of catching the coronavirus so I always wear a mask in public and follow other preventative measures," he states. His diligence has paid off. Moreno has tested a few times for the virus and results have been negative.
The actor is one of a growing list of writers, doctors, sports media influencers and artists to be featured in the webathon's program. Confirmed guests include James Nestor, author of the bestselling book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art and sports media personality and businessman Brandon Steiner of world-renowned Steiner Sports, an athlete representation agency.
"We at the Foundation for Airway Health strive to recruit webathon presenters who inspire people with their craft and achievements and Carlos Moreno Jr. fits that profile," says Sal Rodas, the foundation's executive director. "As an accomplished actor who's been featured in blockbuster movies and as a filmmaker with a passion for independent projects and community causes, Carlos is a great addition to our Breathe-A-Thon program. Being a person impacted with breathing disorders, he truly understands the benefits of proper breathing and a healthy airway."
HOLLYWOOD FILMS & TV, INDIE PROJECTS
In addition to "Coco" and "Transformers," Moreno's worked in television shows and episodic series such as "ER," "Dexter," "Major Crimes," "Difficult People" and "Huge In France" as well as in feature films like "Delta Farce," "Frank and Lola," and "Happy Feet."
Moreno is also a filmmaker in his own right, writing, producing and directing twelve short films. His directorial debut film "Habanero" won him the Rayo Del Sol Award from CineSol Film Festival in his native state of Texas, while "Sweet Blight" earned him the Audience Award from the California Women's Film Festival. His recent short "Panacea," a minimalist futuristic drama about the difficult choices in life, played festivals in Hollywood and Los Angeles as well as the Latino Filmmakers Network's showcase during the Sundance Film Festival.
In recent years, Moreno has led acting workshops back in his home state as a way to give back to his community.
A PUBLIC SERVICE VIDEO FOR KIDS
Earlier this year and in response to the coronavirus pandemic, he produced a public service announcement thanking children for helping in the fight against COVID-19 and reminding them about how to protect themselves. For "We're All In This Together," he brought together the "Little Voices of ‘Coco,'" a group of actors that voiced many characters in the acclaimed animated film "Coco." The video, produced in both English and Spanish, has been made available to schools nationwide and in Latin America.
Joining the webathon is a natural next step for him, says the Los Angeles-based actor. "We must use our platforms for good as artists," he adds, "and I understand the mission and purpose of the Foundation for Airway Health."
Founded in 2012, FAH is dedicated to raising awareness of airway-centered disorder, or ACD, among the general public, healthcare practitioners and the healthcare industry.
ACD is a condition of the mouth, jaw, nasal passages, tongue, or throat that obstructs a person's upper airways. Signs of ACD include speech problems, concentration problems, behavioral issues, asthma, chronic headaches or neck pain, and deep overbite. Other symptoms are depression, fatigue, impaired immune function, restless sleep, trouble falling or staying asleep, and frequent colds, sore throats and tonsillitis.
An undiagnosed and untreated airway-centered disorder increases the risks of atrial fibrillation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
THE COVID PANDEMIC & AIRWAY HEALTH
The current and devastating Covid-19 crisis has brought attention to the airway, which is used and exploited by the novel coronavirus to enter and infect the body. For that reason and in an effort to help halt the spread of Covid, O2 Breathe-A-Thon 2020 will place special emphasis on how to protect one's airways and deal with the pandemic, according to Rodas, FAH's executive director. More than 170,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 and more than 800,000 worldwide so far this year. Nearly 24 million cases of coronavirus infections have been reported in the world.
Check out Carlos Moreno Jr.'s reel:
Carlos Moreno Jr 2018 Reel 2:29 from Carlos Moreno Jr. on Vimeo.