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Tuesday, 5 May, 1998, 00:12 GMT 01:12 UK
Asthma heroine branded 'drug dealer'
Asthma inhaler
Asthma is thought to cause 2,000 deaths in the UK each year
A 12-year-old American girl has been branded a drug dealer after going to the aid of a schoolmate who was suffering an asthma attack.

Christine Rhodes shared her inhaler with 13-year-old Brandy Dyer after spotting her having breathing problems.

She has since been suspended from activities at Mount Airy Middle School in Maryland - and labelled a drug trafficker on her school record.

Christine insists that she was only trying to help her friend.

"The principal of my school told me that what I did was against school rules, giving drugs to another person." she said.

"I was really sad and I was crying because I thought she was trying to say that I shouldn't have helped her and let her stay there and almost die."

'She saved my life'

Brandy believes she would not have survived the asthma attack if Christine had not come to her rescue.

She said: "If Christine had not given me that inhaler they told me at the hospital that I would have died.

"She saved my life and it is unfair that they are giving her these charges."

As a result of Mount Airy's decision, Christine is banned from taking part in school activities for three years but the school is facing increasing pressure to show leniency.

Among those voicing their support is Brandy Dyer's mother Donna.

She said: "It was an emergency situation and I feel that Christine did what she needed to do at the time and I would hope that she would do it again.

"We are hoping that the publicity we get will change this ruling."

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Christine Rhodes: "I didn't want my friend to die" (2' 03")
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