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Her son died after an asthma attack at work. Now she wants to educate others about the disease

Creating an asthma action plan

Dr. Matthew Rank, an asthma specialist at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, describes the different parts of asthma action plans and how they can be useful to people who have asthma.
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Dr. Matthew Rank, an asthma specialist at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, describes the different parts of asthma action plans and how they can be useful to people who have asthma.

Colby Prince was working a shift at the Keene Road Dutch Bros coffee shop in Richland last month when he suffered a severe asthma attack.

The attack caused his breathing to stop, which triggered a cardiac event that took his life. He was 21.

His mother, Lisa Carlin, is now sharing how Colby’s life was affected by the disease in the hope that more people will be aware of the very real danger of asthma.

Colby’s asthma was always considered life-threatening, she said. That meant everyone around him, including friends, teachers and employers, had to be brought up to speed about his condition and what to possibly expect.

“It was a constant frustration for me. I feel like as many people who have asthma do in the school system and in society, that we should know more about it,” Carlin said.

The best thing people can do, she said, is to keep loved diligent about taking their prescriptions and to know their emergency plan.

That is especially important in cases like her son, who, like many patients his age, saw his symptoms as a burden or embarrassment. He would often overexert himself to keep up with everyone else, which she thinks played a role in the severity of his attack.

“It’s important if you have it to let people know around you that you have it, to not always try to keep up with your peers, to accept the fact that sometimes its better to get some rest and take care of yourself,” Carlin said.

Stevie Brandon Davis, 14, of York died this week after an attack from asthma he had battled all his life. (by Andrew Dys)

Colby insisted on contributing to society and those around him, even if it was hard sometimes. He loved his job at Dutch Bros so much that he wanted to own one someday.

Brad and Meghan Barnes, the co-owners of the Keene Dutch Bros, came to Carlin with the idea of doing a fundraiser on July 8, which would have been Colby’s 22nd birthday.

In 24 hours, they raised $3,726 for the Allergy and Asthma Network.

Carlin said customers reach out because they miss seeing him at the stand; friends reach out and tell her good memories, and doctors share Colby’s story with their patients.

“This has been so hard, and I don’t know if it gets easier,” said Carlin. “Maybe it does eventually, but without the support of my friends and family and the community and my faith, I think it would be unbearable. I’m just so thankful.”

Most people think that a bit of summer rain might help alleviate allergies by washing away pollen and mold, but sometimes violent thunderstorms can actually aggravate allergy or asthma symptoms.

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