Chandra’s Story: Losing A Son To Asthma


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 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, that 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

I 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


Read more about asthma.

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Photo credit: moms clean air force


Teri P.
Teri P4 years ago

Asthma is a life-threatening condition. Education and clean air are essential. Thank you, Chandra, for sharing your story. This message is so important.

And to Collen P. - while diet is essential for good health, nothing "cures" asthma. This bereaved mom deserves our compassion and our admiration for the good work she is doing on behalf of all of us. How courageous she is, to devote herself in this way, which must be a constant reminder of her son's suffering.

Howard C.
.5 years ago

So sorry for your loss, children should never die before their parents. I am a chronic asthmatic who has been admitted to hospital many times as a result of severe attacks, then I moved out of a city (in my case London, England), in the 15 years since then I have only been taken in to hospital twice. Pollution harms everyone but it kills asthmatics.

colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

would of not happend if they boy was a vegan. as veganism cures asthma. I learned it here.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Chandra, I am so very sorry for you and your husband's loss of your son. Losing a child is the most terrible thing that can happen to a parent. I completely agree with you that we must continue to put pressure on our government to pass the strictest laws possible for clean air.

Cupkake Stella
Cupkake Stella5 years ago

sorry to hear that

Cathryn C.
Cathryn C5 years ago

Condolences to you Chandra..I know the pain of losing a child and I also know the horror of air pollution and asthma, personally. There are days even in Florida I dare not step out of my home. I fled here from NJ..where I could not breathe at all.

Cindy Wade
Cindy W5 years ago

Heart breaking story. My father was asthmatic and so is my husband. It is a horrible disease and there's nothing worse than watching someone struggle to breathe. In addition to air pollution from power plants, tailpipe emissions, etc., let's not forget about all of the scented products on the market that are pushed at us everyday and which some people believe are OK. They are not!! One that comes to mind is Febreeze with it's slogan "beathe easier with Febreeze". Are you kidding me?!?

Helle H.
Helle H5 years ago

How sad.

Marianna B M.

very sad

Shar F.
Sharon F5 years ago

I have a relative whose child has asthma. In the home bathroom there have always been about ten bottles of unnecessary lotions, conditioners, etc.

At an environmental lecture, one of the speakers was wearing fingernail polish (a household hazardous waste!) while showing the audience photos of her child with asthma.

Think KISS philosophy--Keep it simple, silly. Don't buy stuff you do not NEED. What you put ON your body is almost as important as what you put IN the body.