a ST Mary’s Park teenager who died following a violent asthma attack six years ago is leaving a lasting legacy through donations of medical equipment by his family to local schools and sports clubs.
Anne Boland - the mother of David, who died aged 14 in 2005 - was at St Patrick’s Boys School last week to hand over a defibrillator. The donation follows five similar gestures and thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Bolands, David’s old school at St Mary’s Boys, Northside Youthreach, Star Rovers, St Marys RFC and Thomond RFC have all been equipped with defibrillators.
“It’s not just for asthma and you often hear of young fellas dropping dead when playing matches and a defibrillator can make a real difference. I was reading the other day of a boy down the country who would have died only for a defibrillator being available,” said Anne.
Anne was diagnosed with asthma at 32, her only child at the age of three. David knew how to use an inhaler and nebuliser and his condition did not prevent him from leading a full life. David was unusual for a teenage boy in that he would show up early for school at the Red Tech, where he loved to work with his hands.
“He was a great laugh, always smiling, and everybody who knew him loved him. He never let it bother him,” said Anne.
But nothing could have prepared Anne and Michael Boland for September 14, 2005. David was in the car with his mum when he started to feel ill and asked for his inhaler and a drink of water. Anne stopped in at her sister’s house where David’s condition worsened and he doubled over in pain.
“What I didn’t know at the time was that was his organs shutting down. He had never seemed like a bad asthmatic but the doctors said it was a severe acute massive asthma attack.”
After the tragedy, the Bolands set about raising awareness and the following April they held a fundraiser in The Moose Bar with the proceeds going to the Asthma Association. It was after this that they started raising money for defibrillators - which cost close to €2000 - for schools and sports clubs.
“I do it for my son. He would have been 20 in July and not a day goes by when I don’t think about him. If it saves just one life, it will have been worth it,” said Anne.
Anne expressed thanks to Mickey Lysaght, Daithi Robinson, Christy Pickford and the Breakaways Fishing Club who organised a pike fishing competition at Plassey in April, the proceeds of which went towards purchasing the defibrillator for St Patrick’s School. She said she also owed a debt of gratitude to all who provided spot prizes for the various fundraisers.