Cherish your kids - Kory's mum

HAPPIER TIMES: Te Awamutu toddler Kory Kory Downie-Boyte pictured in a photo taken by his family the night before he choked on a piece of apple.
HAPPIER TIMES: Te Awamutu toddler Kory Kory Downie-Boyte pictured in a photo taken by his family the night before he choked on a piece of apple.

Alison Downie-Boyte was already on her way to pick up her 14-month-old son when she received a phone call from staff at his Te Awamutu daycare centre."They just said to get there as quickly as I could," Mrs Downie-Boyte told the Waikato Times yesterday.

Four days later, Mrs Downie-Boyte and her husband, Cory, were planning for their youngest son's funeral.

Kory Downie-Boyte choked on a piece of apple during a morning tea break at Kids To Five childcare centre on Thursday last week.

Mrs Downie-Boyte said a staff member was sitting with Kory when he started choking and she was instantly at his aid.

"The apple got lodged in his vocal chords. The (staff member) tried to do the Heimlich manoeuvre to get it out and couldn't and then did CPR until an ambulance got there."

An ambulance arrived about four minutes later. It wasn't equipped with a defibrillator so one was brought in from Hamilton.

But the couple have nothing but praise for the actions of Kids to Five and St John staff who they said did everything they could to help save their son's life.

"We're not angry at anyone," Mr Boyte said. "They started CPR straight away and if they hadn't done that we wouldn't have had the past four days with him."

Those days were Friday to Monday, spent at Kory's bedside at Auckland's Starship Hospital.

"It could have been anything, an apple, banana, crackers it could have happened at home," Mrs Downie-Boyte said.

The couple were told on Sunday afternoon that nothing more could be done for Kory and his life support would be turned off the following day.

"We knew that he was going to be brain damaged but didn't the know the extent. But we really didn't care as long as he could enjoy part of his life. Then we were told on Sunday that he wasn't going to make it," Mrs Downie-Boyte said.

Kory was the youngest of three boys, Keegan, 10, and Ben, five.

"It's going to be tough times coming," Mr Boyte said. "We don't know what it's going to be like. You can't say `it's going to be like this or that'."

The couple had also just bought a house in Inglewood, Taranaki, and planned to move there.

However, they were not sure what the future now held for them.

"We'll just take it hour by hour, day by day," Mr Boyte said.

As it was their wish to keep the funeral limited to family, people Mrs Downie-Boyte had made friends with on a TradeMe message board have organised various balloon release ceremonies around the country today in Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North and Invercargill to be timed with Kory's 11am funeral. One is also being held at Te Awamutu's rose gardens.

Mrs Downie-Boyte said they had been overwhelmed with support shown to them by family and friends made on the internet, and people and businesses in Te Awamutu.

"I think because of his age it's affected the whole town, because everyone's got kids."

The only thing they would like to see in return would be for parents to cherish their time with their children.

"The lesson it's taught me is the time you have with your kids you can get too busy with life sometimes, people with work and everything like that but it made me think make it precious. Don't take (your children) for granted," Mr Boyte said.

Waikato Times