This is going to sound harsh, so be ready. But what is it going to take for Americans to wake up and realize that life threatening allergies are NEVER GOING AWAY (insert loud frustrated voice) and the sooner we realize this and work together, we can end these senseless deaths. Two teenagers recently died from food allergic reactions and this is simply tragic. My heart breaks for their families. I can’t imagine their pain, it is too large begin comprehending. Its these two words that I am fighting with: senseless deaths. How do we effectively stop this?
Last week Virtyt Kelmendi, a high school freshman aged 14 years old, passed away from an allergic reaction. In a public letter to his school community, his family explained what happened after he ate a bite of his friend’s fried chicken that contained wheat as they thanked everyone for their support while their precious son was in a coma before he passed. Their grace and poise is heart wrenching as they share their feelings. I am humbled by their words. Below is a You Tube video Virtyt created and several of his friends have posted their messages of grief. It is heart breaking to know that young people are grieving this week over the loss of their vibrant friend.
In March, Thirteen year old Brandon Dixon died after eating a snack given to him by a school employee that contained peanut. Epinephrine was delayed and his tragic death has left his family devastated. His mom explains in this New York Post article, “Mom Says School Fed Her Allergic Son a Lethal Does of Peanuts.” that she is suing the school. To make matters worse, Brandon was to be a bone marrow donor to his brother. Tragedy layered in tragedy.
Two young men full of life left this earth due to food allergic reactions. Our food allergic community has many questions regarding the specifics surrounding their deaths. We’ll never learn those details. BUT, what we are witnessing is a break down in food allergy management and a horrific failure within our educational system and the management of life threatening allergies at school. This disease will not disappear. ALL OF US, schools, restaurants, grandparents, friends, coaches, etc., need to come to grips with reality and accept that allergies can be life threatening, allergic reactions preventable to a large extent and they are simply real.
This dysfunction leads me to believe that the serious problems lay within the general public knowledge about anaphylaxis and life threatening food allergies AND caregivers. I understand the pain that Brandon’s mother is going to face being involved in a law suit and applaud her strength to hold her son’s school accountable for their devastating actions. I pray for her strength to endure legal proceedings as she fights for all school children to be protected and for the disease to be properly understood.
Accidents do and will continue to happen. It is the actions that are from lack of knowledge and ignorance that we need to impact. I just want to scream out, lets get real: food allergies kill and we can stop death by simply accepting this fact and taking a few actions. I just don’t understand what it is going to take to get through this dysfunction between knowledge, science, medical advise and action? My heart goes out to all of the parties involved in the deaths of these two young men. I can’t imagine their anguish and I pray they find peace.
I commit to working harder so that these boy’s deaths will save lives. Actually, I sent the link regarding Brandon’s death to my daughter’s principal and asked him to remind his teachers and staff that during this last very hectic and fun week of school, everyone needs to remember all students with 504 plans and food allergy protocol. I explained that my daughter’s teacher shared a nut ice cream with the classroom last week and thus violated our 504 plan. My concern is not my daughter, who handled the situation beautifully, but why are teachers are not following protocol and are willing to endanger students? When did this become acceptable? I understand an accident or something forgotten. I look forward to hearing the response. Brandon is already saving lives starting today.
May Virtyt and Brandon’s memories be eternal and may their families find peace one day.
– See more at: http://www.gratefulfoodie.com/whats-it-going-t-take-recent-allergy-deaths/#sthash.MPFXFtmR.dpuf