A Child’s Death Does Not Become Us

It was Thanksgiving weekend and we were at my in-laws home in Florida. I was sitting outside enjoying the warmth and chatting with my mother-in-law when my husband came out and asked me if I had checked my emails.

My antenna immediately was raised as my husband has been telling me of late how I am too connected to my phone and laptop. As a food allergy advocate, I spend countless hours online and he is always concerned it is too much. I asked him to hand over his phone ― and quickly scanned our emails. As I read the first email, the tears just started and would not stop.

For the past 3 years, I have co-chaired the FARE (Food Allergy Research Education) gala in NYC raising funds and awareness about life-threatening food allergies. Each year, we list those who have died from anaphylaxis and have a sober moment of silence. We were about to add another child to the list.

The aforementioned email was from the mom of one of my son Joshua’s classmates back in New Jersey. She wrote to tell me one of her son’s best friends Oakley Debbs (same age as my son, 11) who had a known allergy to nuts had just died from food induced anaphylaxis.

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