By Juli McDonald


SOMERVILLE (CBS) – A Somerville widower is sharing a life and death warning to asthmatics and their families.

“If you love someone with asthma, they need to be extra careful this week,” said Peter DeMarco.

DeMarco remembers his wife, Laura Levis, as “funny, and smart and so beautiful.”

The active and adventurous young woman collapsed from an asthma attack outside a locked entrance to Somerville Hospital in 2016.

Laura Levis (Courtesy photo)

“She was 34 years old. There’s no way she ever thought asthma could end her life… I wish I was with her. So much. I wasn’t,” he said.

It was only after losing Laura that DeMarco learned his wife’s deadly attack came during September’s perfect storm, known as Peak Week. The environment was a threat that day.

“That is the most dangerous week of the year for anyone with asthma. It’s high ragweed pollen season. There are more viruses out there with kids returning to school. Laura didn’t know about Asthma Peak Week. I didn’t know about Asthma Peak Week,” DeMarco explained.

Peter DeMarco (WBZ-TV)

He’s made it his mission to share her story and to educate other patients and their families through advocacy with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“Make sure they have inhalers. They’ve filled their nebulizer fluids at home. Make sure if they have an attack they tell someone,” DeMarco said.

He hopes that Laura’s tragedy, might prevent another.

“That no one else dies the way she did,” DeMarco said. “It’s just so important.”

On Tuesday September 24 at the State House, DeMarco will testify in support of Laura’s Law – a bill that will allow the Department of Public Health to set standards for existing hospitals regarding signage, lighting, security monitoring and wayfinding to ensure safe patient access to emergency rooms at all times.

Juli McDonald

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