Twelve-year-old Davis Herniman from Mount Maunganui presents as a normal and very healthy looking boy.
But what most people wouldn’t know from meeting him is he has a type of severe, life-threatening asthma.
Diagnosed with the conditions ‘brittle asthma’ at age three, Davis had his first asthma attack when he was seven, and his mum Regina Walker was forced to perform CPR when his health took a sudden, and scary turn.
“It was that scary; I nearly lost him that day.” Luckily they were just a couple of hundred metres from the doctor’s surgery when it happened.
On an everyday basis, Davis’ mother Regina manages her son’s condition in the best way possible, which includes taking many precautions to asthma triggers.
With World Smokefree Day happening this week, Davis’ family say cigarette smoke is a common asthma trigger, not just for people like him but anyone who has mild to severe asthma.
To reduce the risk of smoke as a trigger, Regina has made their home in Mount Maunganui smokefree. When visitors go over to their house, Regina comments: “Everyone that smokes, has to do it on the footpath”.
“Not in the backyard, the smoke lingers. It’s not a good smell.”
While Regina has done an excellent job of making her home smokefree, at the same time Davis advocates being smokefree. He tells people who smoke: “Every cigarette you smoke takes up two minutes of your time. You shouldn’t be smoking.”
Davis also indicates second-hand smoke is a trigger for him, saying: “That’s no good for you, especially around me”.
He avoids anyone who smokes cigarettes, and even puts the pressure on them to put them out. His cousin once asked him: “How come you’re over there Davis?” He replied: “Because you’re gonna (sic) kill me. See, told you they’d put it out Mum.”
Davis is continually learning to control his asthma, and knows the outcomes of the condition.
He always says: “You can’t muck around with asthma, aye Mum.” Regina says: “Well it’s true, it’s weird you just can’t”.
Regina and Davis are the 2016 Cody Forbes Award for Courage winners. The award was presented to them at the New Zealand Respiratory Awards, held by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ at Te Papa, Wellington, on April 15.
The awards take place every two years to celebrate the success of New Zealanders with a respiratory condition, who have achieved their goals despite their health conditions.
To watch a video of what Davis faces, see: www.youtube.com and search ‘Davis Herniman’.