Northern Ireland news

Young girl's final moments recalled in poignant interview

Aimee Devenney (14) died from an asthma attack last year
Seamus McKinney

The heart-breaking final moments of a young Donegal girl who died from an asthma attack have been recalled by her mother in an emotional radio interview.

The family of teenager Aimee Devenney are calling on people to complete a 10km charity walk today to mark the first anniversary of the 14-year-old's death on December 15.

Speaking to Raidio na Gaeltachta's Barrscéalta programme this week Michelle Devenney revealed that she was about to go into hospital to have a baby when her daughter called in the midst of a panic attack.

While they live in Letterkenny, they are originally from Rann na Feirste where the family are well known to generations of northern visitors who have stayed with them during summer Irish language Gaeltacht courses. Aimee's grandfather, Hugh, is a well-known singer and TG4 actor.

Ms Devenney said her daughter, a student at Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, suffered from asthma from an early age and almost died from an attack when she was just four.

Ms Devenney said: “She was very good at music and drama, like her Granda (Aodh Óg). She was very kind and always had a smile on her face. She'd be very proud of the work we're doing to help these charities.”

The Donegal woman said that last year she was just preparing to go to hospital when Aimee phoned her from her grandparents' home in Ranna na Feirste where she was staying.

She recalled Aimee saying “Mammy, I need you to calm me down”. In the past, Aimee would start panicking whenever she felt an asthma attack coming on as she did that morning. While Ms Devenney did her best to save her daughter, it was clear things were getting more and more serious.

“That was the last time I spoke to her,” Ms Devenney said.

An ambulance crew arrived but was unable to save the teenager.

Ms Devenney said: “They worked on her for a long time. They told me in the hospital that normally they only work on a case like this for 20 minutes but that they had worked on her for two and a half hours so I knew they had done everything they possibly could to save her.”

The family decided to hold a charity fund-raising event to mark the first anniversary of Aimee's death and settled on two charities close to their daughter's heart, the Asthma Society of Ireland and suicide prevention agency, Pieta House. Aimee spent time with Pieta as she suffered some mental health issues.

“You would never think it because she was always so happy-go-luck, but they helped her through a really tough time,” Ms Devenney said.

The Donegal woman has asked people to carry out a 10 km walk in their own areas (because of Covid restrictions). She asked that people post pictures of their walk on a Gofundme page at:

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