|BC: Op/Ed on kids with allergies plus my reply
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|Author:||Caroline2 [ Sat Apr 14, 2007 6:31 pm ]|
|Post subject:||BC: Op/Ed on kids with allergies plus my reply|
This appeared in my my community newspaper in BC on April 6, 2007 http://www.oakbaynews.com/portals-code/ ... 8744&more=
Allergy Shock Hits Home
It shocked me, as I’m sure it shocked everyone who heard the tragic news, that a 13-year-old Esquimalt girl died last week from a severe allergic reaction after eating some fast food.
Any parent can relate to the loss of a child – be it from a car crash, a case of meningitis or the accidental consumption of a drug from a water bottle, as happened to 22-year-old Zoë Read a week earlier. Yet the sudden death of Carley Kohnen, who died after eating a burrito, really hit home for me.
My youngest son is about her age and he too carries the burden of a potentially life-threatening allergy. It’s not clear what allergen killed Carley – she had allergies to peanuts and dairy products – however it is clear that she lapsed into anaphylactic shock and never recovered.
Her death reminded me that the very same thing could happen to my son, Ben. It also reminded me of the three times when I thought it would.
It is a good article. It did not mention BC's Bill M210, The Anaphylactic Student Protection Act, so I wrote a letter to the editor include the BC group contact info. It appeared in many of yesterday's (April 13, 2007) community papers around Vancouver Island. Yeah!
Dear Editor --
I read the article, "Allergy Shock Hits Home" (Keith Norbury, April 6th, Oak Bay News) with interest as I, too, have a child with a life-threatening allergy. We walk a tight rope of understanding the risks, knowing what to do in case of an emergency, and not living in fear every moment of the day. With education and preparedness, we manage to strike that balance in our home-life. Where there is danger, however, is when my child is not with me, for not everyone has an understanding of the dangers of life-threatening allergies.
My child attends public school several hours per day, and so I need assurances that the staff have this understanding. As my child is one of 13,000 BC kids who are at risk for life-threatening (anaphylactic) allergies, it is important that all the schools have this knowledge. Much to my concern, currently there is no set provincial standard on how to gain this education on allergies - each school and district creates and applies their own policy voluntarily.
So you can imagine my relief when Bill M-210, Anaphylactic Student Protection Act, was tabled by NDP MLA David Cubberley just this past March 28th. This bill was adapted from Ontario's Sabrina's Law, which was passed after a 13 year old died at school after eating food in a school cafeteria. In order to prevent such a tragedy happening in BC schools, Bill M-210 would ensure that all BC schools are equally prepared to monitor anaphylactic allergies. The bill calls for and provides public awareness and communication strategies on the risks of reactions. M-210 also provides training on how to deal with accidents and would supply EpiPens (medication that halts an allergic reaction) to all schools. It must be emphasized that this legislation is NOT about banning any foods in our schools -- it is about understanding allergies. Awareness, Avoidance and Alertness is the name of the game with Bill M-210.
Disappointingly, even though Bill M-210 was tabled as non-partisan legislation, our Liberal provincial government does not support this bill. I have been told that Shirley Bond, Minister of Education, would prefer to have a task force that would investigate the needs of kids with life-threatening allergies. I believe this is a waste of time and taxpayers dollars - we know the risks! - and right in front of us we have proven legislation out of Ontario complete with online training plans that reach school staff quickly and at a relative low cost. We don't want to wait until another child dies on school property to understand that adults need to support kids with life-threatening allergies; the passing of Bill M-210 would be a very confident step in the direction of knowing that our schools are doing everything they can to help.
If you would like to join me and a number of other parents who want this legislation to pass, please check out www.m210.org . Bill M-210 is the mechanism to help students, school staff, and our school friends be aware of life-threatening allergies, to provide guidance to help avoid an allergen, and to be ready to act fast in the case of a life-threatening emergency. This kind of education and awareness is the least we can do for our kids with life-threatening allergies.
|Author:||KarenOASG [ Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:20 pm ]|
Wow - that's a great letter Caroline! Well done to provide such good follow-up to the original article.
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