For children growing up with asthma or other respiratory illness, the danger of an attack could come at any moment.

For families without the means to cover the cost of their care, this means an ever-present worry of when the next emergency could come. One local entrepreneur's passion is to see those fears alleviated.

Greg McAfee, founder of McAfee Heating and Air Conditioning, founded the McAfee Foundation for Children and Youth in 2006 in order to help offset the expenses of care related to respiratory illnesses for local children. McAfee Heating has long collaborated with children's organizations such as Children's Medical Center, as well as the American Lung Association, before it formed the foundation.

"About 80 percent of the money goes to the Children's hospital and the other 20 percent goes to kids and children in private homes that need either air conditioning, indoor air quality work or something like that," McAfee said.

The foundation provides temporary financial relief for families as they seek treatment for asthma. The condition can be treated with medication. The foundation also provides funding for other pediatric respiratory treatment.

McAfee, who has been in business for 22 years, said he's been running the foundation because it's always been in his heart to help.

"I have always enjoyed helping kids, because kids can't help themselves. Sometimes they're stuck in a home that's not necessarily safe environmentally." He said. "I have a heart for kids, I have kids of my own, and I enjoy being able to help in a way that, though our foundation, it might help in a wide variety of ways."

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reported in 2007 that more than 22 million people - including 6 million children - suffered from asthma. It accounted for more than 500,000 hospitalizations that year.

McAfee pointed to his website McAfeeFoundation.com, with a link to donate.