Last updated on 22/11/2023


It should have been an amazing holiday, camping in the bush at Thredbo Diggings. But when 10-year-old Ky had a severe asthma attack in his tent, it quickly turned into a nightmare.  

“It was just after a wonderful Christmas on the 28th of December. It was still dark, I heard Ky coughing in the tent next to me. “Ky was having an asthma attack in his sleep. His dad Rod woke him up and gave him his reliever medicine. But Ky kept coughing, he wasn’t breathing properly.”  

Panicked, Jo called triple zero at around 4am. Ky wasn’t improving. The phone signal was patchy, but she eventually got through to an ambulance operator. She told him where they were camping, and that they would start driving to meet the ambulance on the way.   

“I couldn’t hear him breathe. I was worried when his skin and lips went white. We couldn’t see the ambulance yet. Time was critical. I rang triple zero again. About 10 minutes had passed. I started to think about how I might resuscitate Ky. 

I was worried it had been too long. But when I saw the ambulance’s blue and red flashing lights, I started to calm down. Rod sped towards them and pulled over. 

My heart raced as I scooped Ky out of the car and ran to meet the ambulance. I stood on the side of the road with Ky in my arms. Ky looked at me with fear in his eyes. They put him straight on the respirator. I was so relieved I wanted to cry, he was going to be ok. I didn’t know it at the time, but it wasn’t over,” said Jo.  

On the 73km ride to Cooma Hospital, the ambulance officers gave Ky medicine to save his life. He began to get colour back in his face and his breathing improved.  

After being treated at Cooma hospital, when Ky’s asthma settled, he was transferred to the children’s ward at Canberra Hospital. He spent two nights there, before being discharged. But on the way home, Ky had two more asthma attacks that took him to Gundagai hospital and Shepparton hospital followed by The Royal Children’s Hospital.  

Every year thousands of children, just like Ky, have an asthma attack so serious that they must go to hospital. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We know that around 80% of unplanned hospital visits can be avoided with better asthma management. 

We want more families like Ky’s to have the life changing information and support they need from an Asthma Educator, so they don’t have to experience the trauma of rushing their child to hospital. 

Please donate now to fund education, support and vital research to help more children get good control of their asthma.

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Asthma Australia would like to thank Jo for sharing Ky’s story as a part of the Asthma Champion Program. Thank you for being a voice for people with asthma. 

Do you have a story to tell? Become an Asthma Champion.