Asthma is a terrible illness, it is not always considered to be as serious as it actually is. For some people who suffer from asthma there will never be an hospital admission following a bad asthma attack, their condition is well controlled by 1 or 2 inhalers. Unfortunately for many, myself included this is not the case, even though for myself things have been a bit of a struggle over the last few years, suffering numerous bad asthma attacks and hospital admissions I have still managed to lead a somewhat normal (if interrupted) life. Others are not so lucky, their lives are decimated by either their own asthma of that of a loved one. Having a child with asthma can’t be easy, every parent worries about their kids, however when your child has a condition such as asthma that worry must multiply many times over. For some children and their parents, life can still be pretty normal with asthma, unfortunately though that is not always the case. The worst thing that any parent can go through is the loss of a child. I can only imagine what a parent must go through when they lose a child. It puts everything else into some kind of perspective. Life can be very cruel, it can be cut short when least expected and when the death is related to asthma it just goes to show how serious an illness asthma is.
One young life that was taken too soon as a result of asthma was a 10 year old from Hull called Cameron Good. This is Cameron’s story.
Cameron was born on the 4th September 2004, and seemed a happy healthy little boy. At 2 weeks old he developed his first of many chest infections. After many trips to the doctors he was given his first inhalers at age 8 months. He was not officially diagnosed with Asthma until he was 2. At this point he was referred to a consultant and had regular check-ups every 3 months to manage his Asthma and ensure he was getting the appropriate treatment. At aged 3 he had his first Asthma attack which resulted in Cameron been admitted onto the children’s ward at Hull Royal Infirmary. Cameron never let his Asthma stand in his way, after reassurance from his doctor Cameron joined a football team which he absolutely loved. Cameron was very well educated with his Asthma and knew his limits on and off the pitch, he would always tell us when he was struggling to breathe and never complained if he couldn’t play. His asthma was very well managed with inhaler’s, he very rarely had an asthma attack. November 26th 2014 would change his parents lives for ever. It was a standard Wednesday night. Cameron was fit and well with no signs of any asthmatic symptoms. He went off to join his friends for football training.
The events that followed were reported nationally in the Daily Mail (dated 09/12/14)
Schoolboy, 10, collapsed and died after suffering asthma attack while playing football
- Cameron Good was at a training session with AFC Kingston Panthers
- He collapsed 15 minutes into session and did not regain consciousness
- His parents Stacy Suddaby and Craig Good took ‘devastating’ decision to turn off his life support after scan revealed extensive brain damage
A schoolboy has died after suffering an asthma attack 15 minutes into football practice.
Ten-year-old Cameron Good, from Hardane, East Yorkshire, was training with his club AFC Kingston Panthers when he began to struggle to breathe.
The schoolboy fell into a coma after suffering a massive asthma attack and never regained consciousness.
Four days later, after a brain scan revealed huge damage, his parents Stacy Suddaby and Craig Good agreed for his life support machine to be turned off.
Miss Suddaby, 29, said: ‘When asthma strikes, it doesn’t mess around. It killed our son within 15 minutes.
‘People underestimate this condition. When people think of asthma they just think of a little blue inhaler, but it can kill.’
Cameron, who lived with his mother in Hardane, Hull, East Yorkshire, was a Year 5 pupil at the estate’s St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School.
Keen footballer Cameron was diagnosed with asthma when he was two, but doctors had reassured his parents it was safe for him to play sport.
Miss Suddaby said her son had seemed in good health when she had taken him to his weekly football practice, at 5.50pm on Wednesday, November 26.
‘Cameron had been fine all day,’ she said.
‘He had not been wheezing. There was nothing to suggest anything was wrong.
‘He was faffing about with his football boots when we got there, before going outside with the others. Me and the other parents were sitting inside, while the boys trained.
‘About 15 minutes later, Cameron’s coach brought him in and said Cameron was struggling to breathe.’
His parents now want to raise awareness of the condition, which kills three people a day in the UK.
Miss Suddaby, says she asked her son’s coach how many times her son had used his inhaler.
‘Cameron had only had four pumps of the inhaler,’ she said. ‘The advice parents get is call 999 if they have had ten pumps, or if they have lost consciousness.
‘He was still conscious at this point. I made sure he had ten pumps.
‘Cameron told me, “Mam, I need an ambulance. I can’t breathe”.
‘He’d had attacks and panicked before, but he’d never asked for an ambulance. He was begging me. He was going white.
‘Someone called an ambulance. A few minutes later, Cameron turned blue. He then lost consciousness and never came around.’
Two of the other mothers attempted CPR while waiting for paramedics, but Miss Suddaby said it took 13 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, because of heavy commuter traffic.
‘I was trying to stay calm,’ she said. ‘I was talking to him. I didn’t know if he could still hear me. I didn’t want to panic him.’
Paramedics were helped by a consultant anaesthetist who had been having a guitar lesson at the school.
Cameron’s heart was restarted on the way to Hull Royal Infirmary. He was then transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit at Leeds General Infirmary during the early hours.
Miss Suddaby said: ‘A scan showed extensive brain damage.
‘We were told if, by some slim chance, he woke up from the coma, he would not be able to do anything by himself.’
Miss Suddaby said she and Mr Good had a horrific decision to make.
‘Agreeing to turn off a life support machine is the worst decision any parent has to make,’ she said.
‘We wanted him to be that miracle boy. I wanted newspapers knocking on the door because he had made a miraculous recovery.’
Cameron died on Sunday, November 30. Leading tributes to her son, Miss Suddaby said: ‘Cameron was a proper little mammy’s boy.’
Mr Good, 36, said: ‘Cameron was so funny. He was an amazing boy and I was so proud of him.’
Following the tragic loss of Cameron a charity was set up in his name. The charity was set up with the aim to provide a front line defence for children that suffer from asthma by creating an infrastructure to deliver lifesaving medication where children are most active. To raise the public profile of asthma to a level where it’s not thought of as just a cough but a potentially life threatening disease. To bring together health departments to create better cohesion when delivering treatments to anyone who suffers with asthma. We want to create a world class help and support network, and provide specialist training to teachers, parents and the general public.
It is estimated that asthma cost the NHS at least £889 million a year. Of this, £49 million (5.5%) is spent on hospital admissions for asthma. It is estimated that 75% of emergency admissions for asthma could be avoided with more appropriate and timely care. That means £4.6 million in Yorkshire and the Humber could potentially be freed up for other healthcare needs, if asthma care improved and these unnecessary hospital admissions were avoided. Breathe for Cameron aim to reduce the cost to NHS Hull and East Riding by 10% from 2016 -2017 potentially saving £460,000.
The charity has already done lots of great work as highlighted in the local paper the Hull Daily Mail which reported the following:
Following the tragedy in November 2014, Miss Suddaby and her partner Craig Salter set up Breathe For Cameron, a charity that supplies schools with emergency inhalers, with the aim of reducing the number of asthma-related deaths.Last night, the charity confirmed all but one of Hull’s 94 primary and secondary schools had signed up to the free scheme.The remaining school has told the charity that it supplies its own equipment. Former soldier Mr Salter said: “When we started doing this, we had no idea we would get to this points. But we have. The take-up rate has been absolutely fantastic. We’re getting calls every day from schools wanting to get involved.“I cannot say Hull is asthma free. But what I can say is that Hull is asthma smart. That’s important. Hull has taken grasp of this condition.”“We know Cameron would be bursting at the seams with pride, knowing what we have all done to tackle asthma.”Already, Breathe For Cameron is making great strides into the East Riding, with many snapping up their offer of free emergency inhalers to add to first aid kits.“48 out of their 124 primary schools are on scheme now” said Mr Salter. He praised his partner for the way she has responded to losing her son. “Stacey still has really bad days,” said Mr Salter “But she is so determined to stop other parents going through what she has. She is an inspiration to many people”The sterling efforts of Miss Suddaby and her partner were recognised at the Mail’s Heart of East Yorkshire Awards 2016, winning the overall award and the Champion Charity Award.
To learn more about Cameron and the charity set up in his name click on the link below:
I would like to thank Cameron’s family for allowing me to share his story and would also urge anybody who is able to support the charity to do so. You can follow the charity on twitter @breathecharity
If you are the parent of a child who suffers from asthma I strongly recommend looking at the Asthma UK advice, click on the link below: