Guest post by Dawn Dawson: A mom who knows too well that every breath matters

By Dawn Dawson on 2012-07-12

My name is Dawn Dawson and my son Zachary Dawson had asthma.  He was diagnosed and hospitalized in Calgary at the childrens hospital at age 16 months.  He had suffered since birth with coughing, a lot of puking of the ‘stuff’ from his lungs.  Once he was diagnosed, we were able to provide a better quality of life for Zachary.  We moved back to Saskatoon when Zachary was 2 years old.  He took inhalers daily and as he got older, he also took Singular and a nose spray.  When we weren’t diligent in his medicine, Zachary would see a trip to the hospital to be put on a mask to open his passageways.  We learned that daily inhaler administration was the best way to control his asthma.

As Zachary was growing up in Saskatoon, he was seen by specialists here for his asthma, and he also was able to attend an asthma camp, put on by the Lung Association, just out of Saskatoon.  At this camp, Zachary was able to meet other children who also struggled to breathe.   This was good as he often saw himself singled out from his friends who didn’t struggle, he now knew that he wasn’t alone.

Zachary died at age 13 years of age playing a ‘game’ called the choking game.   Zachary at the time of this death, was 5’ 10 ½” tall, and weighed 180 pounds, played hockey and football, not what you would expect from an asthma sufferer.  We felt it was important that Zachary was able to do anything he wanted to do, by controlling his asthma daily.  He was never held back from any sport, although, he was glad when the practices were done to give his body a rest, but he gave it 100% while on the ice or on the field.

Zachary died doing what any other teenager does, he tried something out of curiosity.  Unfortunately, he tried something that would end his life very quickly.  Zachary’s limited lung capacity and his familiarity of the light headed feeling (from taking daily inhalers) assisted in his quick death when he tried the ‘choking’ game.   Our hope is parents will be familiar with all the things teenagers are doing, including the choking game.

Please visit my son at and view my blog.

I do this, for him.


Dawn Dawson;  mom to my son Zachary, an angel in heaven, and to Kaitlyn and Xander, here on earth

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Page Last Updated: 11/12/2018