A school policy decided the fate of young Ryan. The absence of an asthma inhaler took the life of the young boy. His determined mother decided to fight for all the kids who could undergo a similar fate like her child.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 6, 2022. It has since been updated.
Sometimes the policies and decisions that may seem harmless can be the cause of a mishap. A young boy lost his life on the school campus as he could not get his asthma inhaler just because the school authorities had kept it locked. The school's mistake cost the child his life and also immeasurable grief to his parents who loved him dearly. According to Newsner, 12-year-old Ryan Gibbons from Ontario died on his school campus after having a major asthma attack. The child who could not get to the inhaler locked in the office blanked out and passed away.
On October 9, 2012, Ryan the enthusiastic schoolboy was all ready to for a usual day at school. Little did his parents know that it was going to be their last day with their beloved child. Ryan who loved outdoor sports was busy playing soccer with his friends. Suddenly the 12-year-old suffered an asthma attack and was unable to breathe or walk. The kid who started feeling unwell told his friends and started panicking. His concerned friends suddenly took to action. "So as he was going to the office to get his inhaler, he kind of was having a hard time and had to be carried into the office, and by the time he got there he had blacked out," said Sandra Gibbons to CBC News, the mother of the young boy.
Ryan's inhaler was locked in the office as per the school policies. The accident which could have been prevented if he had his medication lead to the death of the child. His mother told CBC News that his spare inhalers were repeatedly confiscated by school authorities. The policy of the school did not allow kids to keep the inhalers with them. It was supposed to kept lock in the principal's office. "I received many phone call stating Ryan had taken an inhaler to school and they found it in his bag and would like me to come to pick it up because he wasn't even allowed to bring it home with him," said the mother to CBC News. "There's supposed to be one in the office and that's the only one he can have. I didn't understand why."
The mother who lost her child did not want any other kid to go through the same fate as her child. “When Ryan passed away, it was like losing everything that I lived for,” Gibbons told Allergic Living. “After burying my son, I knew that this was a preventable attack. To me, if people had appropriate training and knew what to look for when a child was in distress, he would be here today.”
The determined woman began a petition demanding the Ontario government to implement a standardized asthma management plan that trained the staff to recognize asthma symptoms. It also asked the government to give children permission to carry their asthma medication and inhaler with parental approval. Eventually, the new law known as Ryan's Law came into effect.
“My hopes with the legislation is to ensure children have their inhalers on their person at all times with a backup in a location that is easily accessible,” said Gibbons to Allergic Living.