FOR nearly all of his 19 years, Ryan Tomkins lived with asthma.
One attack was all it took to cut his young life short.
With another teenage son also suffering the disease , Mr Tomkins’s mother Lenore Miller is anxious for answers about what causes the often debilitating and sometimes fatal condition.
Ms Miller, of Mayfield, is worried that the quest to understand asthma could be jeopardised if the federal government cuts national health and medical research funding.
Mr Tomkins was diagnosed at age three.
Ms Miller said her son led an active life, working and playing sport.
One Saturday in 2007 following a soccer game, he went to a friend’s party.
Mr Tomkins rang his mother early in the night and said he was not feeling well.
Ms Miller picked up her son and when his asthma did not improve, took him to the hospital. After little more than two hours, Mr Tomkins was on life support.
He died about three weeks later.
Ms Miller said while her son’s story was a worst case scenario, asthma was a widespread medical condition.
‘‘In terms of the government cutting funding, as an illness asthma affects a lot of people, particularly here in the Hunter,’’ she said.
Asthma Foundation NSW chief executive Michele Goldman said asthma’s cause was unknown and all the more reason to continue research.