In Western Australia, one in ten children live with life-threatening asthma. Children like four year old Hamish.
Adventurous, cheeky and full of fun, Hamish looks like any other outback farm kid. He loves being with his dad on the tractor, playing with his mates at school, and racing around the yard on his scooter.
But everything Hamish loves is also a potential deadly trigger. Because just like his dad, Hamish suffers from severe asthma.
“Whether its grain dust from the harvester or catching a cold off a friend, we worry what other triggers could set off an attack,” says his mum, Philippa. “And out here on the farm, we’re a long way from specialist medical care.”
Even with dad Ross having asthma, the family wasn’t aware of Hamish’s condition until he was nearly three.
“We were harvesting near our house in our new header when the wind changed direction and sent a massive plume of grain dust over the house. Ross who was home at the time yelled to get Hamish in the house quickly! But we weren’t fast enough and Hamish had already breathed in the dust.
The following day, Hamish started struggling to breathe, Ross took one look at his face and said “he needs to go straight to Emergency”, 30km away.
“Hamish was assessed over telehealth at our local hospital where it was decided he had to be transferred to another hospital 100km away for more specialist medical care.
Two nights and three days he stayed in hospital. It was the fright of my life, seeing my rambunctious little boy rigged up with so many tubes just to keep him alive. I was terrified.”
Thanks to the generous support of our donors, Hamish and his family have an extensive Asthma Action Plan in place and access to our Telehealth service; a state of the art way to link doctors via teleconference for people in remote areas.
“Many people think you can just have a puff of Ventolin and it’s all okay. But a puff might not work – then it’s life or death, especially when you live a long way from medical help!”
That’s why Hamish has extensive critical support systems in place should an asthma attack occur. From his school bus driver to his school, Asthma WA has helped the Hamish’s family establish a support team around him in case of an emergency.
Asthma remains a serious disease. Even if you don’t suffer from asthma yourself, it’s likely you know someone who does. It’s a disease none of us can ignore.
The good news is that two out of three deaths can be prevented with basic asthma care, such as using a written asthma action plan and correct device use. With your help, we can save more lives.
“Asthma needs to be taken so much more seriously than it is. I really hope that sharing our story can go some way to doing that. Maybe it will help another child or family who’s struggling. Maybe it will even be lifesaving.”
This Christmas, please send an urgent gift to ensure every child like Hamish, living under the fear of an uncontrolled and deadly asthma attack has the support they need.