LEE COUNTY, Flla.- A community is mourning the loss of a boy who died Monday from an asthma attack. Meanwhile, the boy's parents hope their son's death will save the lives of other children.
Ryan Normandin was 10 years old, but based on stories from his friends, the boy was wise beyond his years.
"I liked his attitude," said Chase Satzler, a friend of Ryan's. "He never really gave up about anything and he always used to cheer me up."
"(Ryan) said (I) shouldn't be afraid because he will let nothing happen to me," said Alexis Pyle, another friend.
Ryan's said their son was wise enough to take care of himself when he felt an asthma attack coming on, which is what happened Saturday morning at Ryan's baseball practice.
"Toward the end of practice, he just said, 'Dad, I really can't breathe,'" said Ryan's father, Sean Normandin.
Ryan's usual treatment didn't help, so his parents rushed him to the hospital.
"There was nothing they could do," Sean Normandin said. "It was just that bad."
Ryan's classmates at Rayma C. Paige Elementary in Fort Myers spent the week grieving. They wore baseball jerseys and dedicated a mural to Ryan.
The mural bears Ryan's catch phrase: "It's my time to shine," which is what the boy would say during baseball games as he stepped up to bat.
Ryan continues to shine through a special message from his family. "You never know from one asthma attack to another which is going to be mild, and which is going to be severe," Jennifer Normandin, Ryan's mother said. "They all have to be taken with the potential to be deadly."
The Normandins donated Ryan's organs.
"There (are) a lot of families that, this Christmas season, have received a miracle that they didn't think that they were going to have," Jennifer Normandin said.
Dr. Pierre Loredo, a pediatrician with Lee Physician Group, said children who use more than two full canisters of their rescue inhalers per month or visit the emergency room at least three times per year are at the highest risk of suffering a deadly asthma attack.