Chandra’s Story: Losing A Son To Asthma

BY ON March 27, 2012

Jovante Woods

Moms want to do everything we can to avert further asthma tragedies. We know that asthma is triggered by air pollution; for more information, please read, The Racial Politics Of Asthma.

This post was written by: Chandra Baldwin-Woods:

An asthma attack turned my world upside just less than two years ago, and it has never been the same since. After returning home from football practice on a typical hot, muggy August day, my 16-year-old son Jovante suffered an asthma attack that rendered him unconscious from anoxic brain injury. Jovante’s father and I spent the next four days by his side in the hospital praying for his recovery, which was not to be.

I do not have adequate words to describe the pain of losing a child. It’s something no parent should ever have to experience. Knowing that we will never watch Jovante graduate high school, attend college or experience the joy of starting a family is a pain we must live with every day.

Jovante WoodsJovante idolized Jerome “The Bus” Bettis for his courage to never let asthma stand in his way on or off the field. With proper treatment, Jovante’s doctor was confident that he could continue to pursue his passion for athletics, especially football, which runs deep in our family. Not only do I play on a women’s full contact football team, but Jovante’s father Ickey was a fullback for the Cincinnati Bengals. Both Ickey and I had asthma growing up and fully expected Jovante would someday grow out of it just as we thought we had.

When I hear those who undoubtedly know better—corporate polluters and even politicians in Congress—minimizing the serious health consequences caused by air pollution, my heart breaks all over again. How these people have the audacity to callously deny what is common information among those in the medical community—air pollution causes asthma attacks and cuts short the lives of those we love most—is beyond me.

By fighting for air alongside the American Lung Association and Moms Clean Air Force, we are passionate about building a future where every child has healthy air to breathe. Cleaning up power plant pollution, tailpipe emissions and other air pollution sources will prevent thousands of asthma attacks every year while giving other children the chance to fulfill their dreams. It is through this work that the best memories of our wonderful, loving child live on.

We are also proud of the foundation and scholarship program we started in our son’s name to help fund the critical work of Cincinnati Children’s Asthma Research Division in addition to building organ donor awareness. To learn more about the Jovante Woods Foundation and the 3.8 to be Great Scholarship, please visit:

Jovante Woods memorial posterI am truly glad to call you my mom
I really appreciate in hard times the way you make ends meet
I love you with all my heart and you’re the bomb
You taught me to work hard and never cheat

In past times, we’ve had our share of fights
Sometimes I may say your name followed by a swear
But still you’ve always encouraged me to reach new heights
I’m so sorry  my asthma attacks gave you a scare

Without you, I would not be here
When I’m upset, you’ve always kept calm
With a house filled with six kids you found time to care
This is why I’m glad you are my mom

–Jovante Woods 1994-2010

Words can not express how sad we are for your loss, Chandra. Thank you for sharing your story with MCAF.



TOPICS: African-American Community, Asthma, Motherhood, Politics, Pollution, Social Justice

  • May Leen

    I am truly sorry for your loss. Many have been injured by pollution in homes, schools, workplace and environment. I hope you will join us in bringing Awareness to Toxic Injuries.
    Many Blessings
    May Leen / Dragonflymcs

  • May Leen

    Please join our Cause, together we can bring Awareness to many illnesses caused by Toxins in our everyday lives in schools, homes, workplace and our environment. I am on Twitter, You Tube, Causes. Thank you, many Blessings May Leen / Dragonflymcs

  • Rosamaria Graziani

    I am so sorry for your loss. That could also have been my story because pollution/chemicals triggered severe asthma attacks in me. I am alive because I was fortunate to have access to world class physicians and medical care. I am a Latina and I am aware this is not the case for many minorities and feel for the parents of children who are at risk of death just because they don’t have access to air which is free of toxins. We all care for our children, no matter what party we belong to, so let’s work together for a clean environment.

  • Jennifer

    It saddens me to read about this tragedy. I wish I could get this info out to everyone struggling with Asthma. Asthma is hyperventilation. Allergens wether toxic air or cows milk, causes our breath to speed up, which off gases too much carbon dioxide. We would die because carbon dioxide is needed to equal the ph in our blood for the oxygen to get into our cells. Our body has a coping mechanism, lungs restricting and mucus to try and keep carbon dioxide levels in the lungs.
    The way people grow out if it as doctor says, people naturally slow down their breathing or breaths per minute without even knowing what happened. But you can slow down your breathing by trying. Breath thru your nose morning and night. Keep practicing. When your breath is out hold it for 2 second count. Resist the urge to yawn or cough as this will off gas the carbon dioxide and this is what you want to build up so your body naturally triggers you to breath less per min. I did give up dairy to create less mucus in my body but this helps instantly during an asthma attach. Don’t even in courage someone to breath harder or faster during an asthma attach. Encourage them to relax, breath thru their nose and hold their breath out for a second or two and breath in normally- try not to gasp. This helped me in the first breath doing this. I hope this saves someone’s life. It’s free info and no pharmaceutical company will even get rich off this info. So help me spread the word. Email me if you have questions.


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