A grieving mother has shared the final word her five-year-old daughter, Imogen, spoke before she tragically choked to death on a cocktail frankfurt, her favorite snack.
The incident occurred after Samantha Lennon stopped to do a quick grocery shop with her daughter following her swimming lesson in Canowindra, in central west NSW, on January 16.
Imogen had been chatting away from the back seat before she suddenly went quiet and began to choke on the snack.
Mrs. Lennon tried to help Imogen cough up the food, but sadly her daughter could not be saved.
Mrs. Lennon is first-aid trained, but was not aware of a small tool that could have potentially saved her daughter’s life.
The device, called LifeVac, is a suction mask with a small pump on top that can immediately bring the blockage to the surface when someone is choking.
Introduced to Australia six years ago, it has saved 747 lives worldwide, including 449 children.
Now, Mrs. Lennon is calling for greater awareness around the product and aims to help change that to save other families from going through the tragedy the Lennons have experienced.
Imogen’s Mission is the group that Mrs. Lennon launched to help raise awareness about children’s choking and devices that can help in a crisis.
The group aims to spread the word about LifeVac and encourages individuals to have them in cars, homes, schools, and preschools, to save children’s lives.
Mrs. Lennon said that if they could save a child’s life, Imogen would be proud.
Former paramedic Simon Gould has stated that standard first aid procedures are not always effective for large blockages, and people should invest in LifeVac.
Time is of the essence when someone begins to choke, and the average response time in Australia is between eight and 14 minutes.
Oxygen starvation can cause brain damage and death if it lasts too long.
Many people around the world cannot receive conventional treatment for choking due to pregnancy, disability, age, or obesity.
The family home is full of reminders of Imogen, from her drawings on the walls to her toys where she left them on the dining room table.
There is even a stack of her clothes on the lounge.
The family was devastated by the loss of Imogen, and nothing could prepare them for the pain.
When they brought Imogen’s ashes home, they decided to place her on her bed surrounded by all her toys, creating a safe and love space.
Imogen had only just been fitted with a hearing aid on the Monday before she died.
Mrs. Lennon said that for one whole week, Imogen got to know what her voice truly sounded like.
This added another layer of heartbreak to the family’s loss.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Lennon hopes that Imogen’s Mission and LifeVac can help prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy.