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Another peanut allergy death

30 replies [Last post]
By river on Tue, 06-17-03, 13:38

There was another death, (of course these are only the ones that make the paper), in Florida.

The frustrating thing is that, ALL PEANUT ALLERGY DEATHS ARE PREVENTABLE.

This man was taking a huge risk eating at a buffet and an even bigger risk eating Chinese food. It says that he was "cautious" about what he ate, yet it is obvious from his actions that he was not educated in cross contamination issues or the potential for sudden anaphylaxis. It also sounds like he did not carry an epipen.

Why is the information about peanut allergies not getting out there?

I'm just so angry every time I read about these senseless and needless deaths.

[url="http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/news/local/6091392.htm"]http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/tallahassee/news/local/6091392.htm[/url]

FSU athletics adviser Schmauch, 29, dies
By Gerald Ensley
DEMOCRAT SENIOR WRITER

A popular Florida State athletics official and former star athlete, Matt Schmauch, died unexpectedly Friday while attending a national convention in St. Louis.

Schmauch died of an apparent allergic reaction while attending the National Association of Academic Advisers for Athletics' annual convention. He was 29.

Schmauch was FSU's assistant athletic academic adviser, in charge of overseeing the academic performance of men's football and women's basketball student-athletes.

"Our players adored him; he was like an older brother," said FSU women's basketball coach Sue Semrau. "It was not only the professional side of him but the personal side. He was there for all the things you need when you're going through college as an athlete."

Schmauch was one of seven FSU administrators attending the national convention, including Mark Meleney, director of athletic academic support services. Contacted in St. Louis, Meleney said Schmauch had a well-known allergy to peanuts and was "always cautious about what he ate."

Meleney said Schmauch and fellow FSU adviser Kevin White were eating lunch at a Chinese buffet in the St. Louis Hyatt Union Station, the convention hotel, when Schmauch began to feel ill. Meleney said Schmauch got up to go to his room, but apparently got only part of the way before he turned around and returned to the dining room where he collapsed.

Paramedics arrived in less than five minutes and began working on Schmauch, then took him to a hospital. Meleney said Schmauch never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. A medical examiner Saturday ruled the cause of death as heart failure.

Schmauch was a high-school All-American swimmer in Allen Park, Mich. He was recruited to the University of Florida, where he spent one year before transferring to FSU. He lettered three seasons for FSU (1994-1996) and was team captain his senior year. He posted FSU Top 10 career times in three events (200-meter breast stroke, 200-meter individual medley and 400-meter individual medley). He was an Academic All-American and two-time member of the Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll.

He earned his bachelor's degree in finance in 1995 and a master's degree in athletic administration in 1996. Meleney hired him as head of the athletics tutorial program in fall 1996 and promoted him to assistant academic adviser in 1998, in charge of football and women's basketball.

Though he often butted heads with football players with lackadaisical class habits, Schmauch helped push many to graduation. Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson, a Quincy native, credited Schmauch with persuading him to complete his degree in 2001 after Jackson left FSU for the NFL in 1999.

"Matt brought a tough love to his job," Meleney said. "He pushed the guys to grow up and be accountable for what they did in the classroom. Some of the most unprepared student-athletes came to love him because they learned he was in their corner."

Semrau agreed.

"With Matt, it wasn't just about getting student-athletes through school," she said. "He understood if you developed more as a person, you developed more as an athlete and a student. He always put the person first."

Florida State quarterback Chris Rix said Schmauch will be missed.

"He's irreplaceable," Rix said. "He always wanted the best out of other people. I know the guys on the team are going to miss him. He would stay on guys if you miss something. He wanted the best for you and out of you."

Schmauch is survived by his mother, Janis, and a younger brother, Brien.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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By Gail W on Tue, 06-17-03, 14:54

This really hits home for me because the death occured here in St. Louis at a well-known facility. We have been there many times. And the hospital this man was taken to was most likely the one at which my husband works. I did not see it reported in any of our papers here, but will search.

Thanks for posting this river.

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By Peg541 on Tue, 06-17-03, 15:08

Was this death from PA or heart failure? Maybe the illness he was feeling was a heart attack. They did not say he had any obvious signs of allergic reaction?

Peg

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By Jana R on Tue, 06-17-03, 18:27

This story and the one last December about the young lawyer who died from PA has me [b]very[/b] concerned for my 15 year old son. These were college educated men who should be intelligent enough to keep themselves safe. I know the lawyer didn't have his epi-pen on hand and it doesn't sound like Matt Schmauch did either. I really wish Dey would make the pens smaller and easier to carry - I think men would keep them with them if they slipped into a pocket. River, your point is well taken - why did he feel it was safe to eat Chinese buffet???

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By river on Tue, 06-17-03, 18:34

Peg, what I understand of anaphylactic shock is that in the worst case it can result in cardiac arrest. It's just the ultimate and final symptom.

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By Jana R on Tue, 06-17-03, 18:45

I just wrote the reporter of the above article and here is his reply - of course I'll post again if there is any more on the topic:

[i]Ms. Robertson:
Reporter Janie Nelson is writing a story about this subject (and I will pass along your e-mail in case she wants to contact you).

I'm told he had an Epi-Pen but did not carry it at all times. Such as this one.

Gerald Ensley[/i]

Jana Robertson wrote:

As the mother of a severely food allergic teen boy and was very saddened to read about Mr. Schmauch.I am always looking for additional ways I need to educate my son to keep himself safe and I was wondering if you knew anything more about his cause of death (or knew whom I should contact). I am particularly wanting to know if this man carried an Epi-pen at all times and if it was used and didn

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By erik on Tue, 06-17-03, 19:28

Quote:Originally posted by Jana R:
[b]This story and the one last December about the young lawyer who died from PA has me very concerned for my 15 year old son. These were college educated men who should be intelligent enough to keep themselves safe. I know the lawyer didn't have his epi-pen on hand and it doesn't sound like Matt Schmauch did either.[/b]

Hi Jana,

I can see how this would make you very nervous for your son. To give you some reassurance, I am a 37 year old male who has kept myself safe, and I do carry an epi-pen with me anytime I go out to eat.

The most important thing is if you are not sure if something is safe, do not eat it. Always ask about food. I assume there must have been a satay dish or some type of peanut dish in the buffet. The other importtant thing is ensure your son does not eat any baked good unless he is absolutely certain they are safe. Baked goods are a major risk as peanuts are used in so many bakeries.

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By Peg541 on Tue, 06-17-03, 20:02

Quote:Originally posted by river:
[b]Peg, what I understand of anaphylactic shock is that in the worst case it can result in cardiac arrest. It's just the ultimate and final symptom.[/b]

Yes, they were not clear though, did his PA and anaphylaxis cause the heart failure? Although they mentioned he was PA they were not very clear.

He could have just had a heart attack. But I assume since they mentioned his PA they meant anaphylaxis leading to heart failure.

Peg

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By Jana R on Tue, 06-17-03, 21:37

Quote:Originally posted by erik:
[b] To give you some reassurance, I am a 37 year old male who has kept myself safe, and I do carry an epi-pen with me anytime I go out to eat. [/b]

Thanks Erik - actually I did think of you when I was once again starting to panic about adult men not taking the necessary precautions and dying because of that. You prove it can be done! Can I ask how you carry your epi-pen. My son doesn't like fanny packs and he doesn't want to wear an epi-belt or snap on a dangly apparatus to his belt loop - he usually just puts it in his pocket and right now he's really good at not leaving home without it. He doesn't remember his last reaction (he was only 11 months old) so I wonder if he'll get lackadaisical especially if it's incovenient to carry. I comfort myself by reminding myself for instance that when he went shopping a couple days ago for new shorts, he made sure the pockets were deep enough for the pen. But I don't think I'll ever feel he will always make wise decisions about how to be prepared for an emergency. Right now it's really rare that we feel safe for him to eat bakery items anyways - he's also severely allergic to milk and eggs so most bakery items are off limits. So then I worry when he's living away from home and not wanting to take the time to bake for himself, will he chance a bakery???
Sorry to ramble off the topic of Matt Schmauch!

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By Gail W on Tue, 06-17-03, 23:22

Quote:Originally posted by Peg541:
[b] Yes, they were not clear though, did his PA and anaphylaxis cause the heart failure? Although they mentioned he was PA they were not very clear.

He could have just had a heart attack. But I assume since they mentioned his PA they meant anaphylaxis leading to heart failure.

Peg[/b]

This confused me, too. I wondered why the medical examiner didn't rule the cause of death as "anaphylaxis"?

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By Peg541 on Wed, 06-18-03, 01:14

Probably somewhere on the death certificate is a secondary cause which they might have listed as anaphylaxis.

Ana. is a collection of symptoms a syndrome that often results in heart failure. They usually list the actual cause of death first and then what led to it.

And I am so sorry to be discussing this poor young man's death so blithely. I certainly send my sympathies to his family.

Peggy

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By AlwaysAvoidAnaphylaxis on Wed, 06-18-03, 02:04

just wanted to mention that we put in our wills that we want our DS to have a full time chef and kitchen available at all times. That makes me feel better.

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By Jana R on Wed, 06-18-03, 05:18

Another related article:
[url="http://gainesvillesun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030617/LOCAL/306170002/1007"]http://gainesvillesun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030617/LOCAL/306170002/1007[/url]
June 17. 2003 6:01AM
Official's death prompts allergy warning

Kathy Ciotola
Sun staff writer
[email]ciotolk@gvillesun.com[/email]

he death of a Florida State University athletics official from an apparent peanut allergy should be a warning to others who suffer from similar aversions, allergists say.

Matt Schmauch, 29, died unexpectedly Friday while attending a national convention in St. Louis. He and a co-worker were eating at a Chinese buffet in the St. Louis Hyatt Union Station when Schmauch began to feel ill, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. He collapsed in the dining room.

Schmauch never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. A medical examiner Saturday ruled the cause of death as heart failure.

Schmauch was FSU's assistant athletic academic adviser, in charge of overseeing the academic performance of men's football and women's basketball student-athletes.

FSU officials, who wouldn't talk about the incident Monday, had said on Saturday that Schmauch had a peanut allergy and was always cautious about what he ate, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Gainesville allergist M.K. Punja said sometimes it's hard to find out what ingredients are in a meal from a restaurant.

People with food allergies should tell the server and chef about them, said Punja, of the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Consultants in Gainesville.

But sometimes even the chef doesn't know what's in the meal he or she is cooking.

A man in New Hampshire died after eating chili sauce, even after he informed the chef of his allergy, because the sauce was pre-made and the chef didn't realize peanut butter was in it, Punja said.

When allergy victims die, it's usually because their throats swell and they can't breath, he said.

But those with bad allergies can carry an EpiPen, which is a spring-loaded shot containing adrenaline, Punja said. It opens up the airways.

FSU officials wouldn't say Monday whether Schmauch had an EpiPen.

Peanut allergies are known for killing people quickly, Punja said.

"The peanut allergy is notorious for causing severe anaphylactic reactions," he said.

Just one peanut is enough to kill those with severe allergies, and even airborne particles can cause reactions, Punja said. That's why airlines don't serve them anymore, he added.

Chinese, African, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese dishes often contain peanuts, or are contaminated with peanuts during preparation of these types of meals, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, a national nonprofit organization.

Dying from a food allergy is pretty rare - between 150 and 200 people a year do, according to the FAAN.

Less than one percent of the population is allergic to peanuts, Punja said.

Right now there is no treatment for peanut allergy, but one may be on the horizon.

An injection called Anti-IgE was recently approved by the FDA for asthma treatments, and some studies suggest it could be used for peanut allergies, Punja said. But more studies need to be done before the injection could be approved for peanut allergies, he added.

Until there is a treatment, avoidance is the key, Punja said.

"They should be very vigilant of what they eat; watch labels," Punja said.

"Parents should tell the teacher in school about the child's problem."

Kathy Ciotola can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or [email]ciotolk@gvillesun.com[/email].
or more information, log onto the Web site: [url="http://www."]http://www.[/url] foodallergy.org/

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By Nick on Wed, 06-18-03, 11:05

Jana ... like Erik, I'm adult and male (at least, the last time I scrutinised my behaviour, it was *relatively* adult [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]!), but unlike Erik, I am a "late developer" of the allergy.

It came upon me late in 1999, when I was, ummm, well, 42! (older than Erik!! )

Nuts (various) and sesame. Bummer! No more Chinese, Indian, Greek food... in fact, virtually no nore restaurants, period! Well, you all know the scenario...

I carry the EpiPen EVERY TIME I leave my house. I use the Zoni "E-belt" : I don't care that the "holster" design dangles... it draws attention to me / it and when explaining what it is, I can educate people about the allergy w/out seeming to push it down their throats. Every little helps, in this awareness battle.

If I'm not wearing a belt to secure it, the holster is slipped into a "bum-bag" (or "fanny-pack" as you might say! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]). I have EVEN tucked it down my sock on one occasion!! Now, that DID cause some comments!!

I would not go out without it ... I care not what people say; it matters not that I am always vigilant ... you just can't be too complacent. I dare not have that momentary lapse; than feeling of "it'll be OK to leave it @ home". It has become as much a part of the "going-out-kit" as my clothes, house keys, mobile phone and wallet!!

My sympathies go to the family & friends of Matt Schmauch, especially at this sad time - as I am sure is true of all of us @ PA.COM.

It will not help to debate the circumstances leading to his unfortunate death ... it sadly happened and I think it makes us all the more determined to make the world aware that food allergies can kill!

God bless & stay safe!

Nick

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By erik on Wed, 06-18-03, 13:40

Quote:originally posted by Jana R
[b]Can I ask how you carry your epi-pen. My son doesn't like fanny packs and he doesn't want to wear an epi-belt or snap on a dangly apparatus to his belt loop - he usually just puts it in his pocket and right now he's really good at not leaving home without it. [/b]

Hi Jana,

I carry my epi-pen differently dependng on the situation. Most of the year, it is cold up here in Toronto so I often carry it on the inside pocket of my jacket/coat. When I am hiking, shopping, etc I carry it in my backpack. When I am out with my girlfriend she often carries it in her handbag. I also sometimes carry it in my pocket if I am not wearing a jacket or carrying a backpack.

Quote:originally posted by Jana R
[b]He doesn't remember his last reaction (he was only 11 months old) so I wonder if he'll get lackadaisical especially if it's incovenient to carry.[/b]

Since I began carrying an epi-pen (epi-pens didn't exist when I was a child), I have had ZERO food ingestion PA reactions so I have never had to use my epi-pen in all these years. But I haven't stopped carrying it as you never know when the next reaction will happen. So if he is in the habit of carrying it with him now, I believe that this will continue even if he doesn't have reactions. And if he is made aware of these occasional deaths that have occurred, it will also be a reminder to him that there is a risk.

Quote:originally posted by Jana R
[b] So then I worry when he's living away from home and not wanting to take the time to bake for himself, will he chance a bakery???[/b]

I don't think he will chance a bakery. I think he would check with the bakeries in the area, and find one that does not use peanuts. That is what I have done, and the only baked goods that I eat are from peanut-free bakeries. As I do not have a milk and egg allergy, it makes it easier for me - I don't think there would be much your son could eat from a bakery as most baked goods come in to contact with eggs or milk.

Quote:originally posted by Nick
[b]Nuts (various) and sesame. Bummer! No more Chinese, Indian, Greek food... in fact, virtually no nore restaurants, period! Well, you all know the scenario...[/b]

Hi Nick,

My restaurant restrictions are not as tight as yours, although that may be due to the fact I am not allergic to sesame. Anna Marie also avoids all restaurants due to her sesame allergy. I avoid all Thai and Vietnamese restaurants due to my PA. But I do eat in some Indian restaurants, Greek restaurants, and Chinese restaurants. There are some that are safe. Although they may not be safe if you have a sesame allergy as I assume it is very difficult for you to find sesame-free restaurants. I find Japanese restaurants are a good choice, as I have never found one that uses peanuts so far (but they all use sesame).

Quote:originally posted by Nick
[b]I would not go out without it ... It has become as much a part of the "going-out-kit" as my clothes, house keys, mobile phone and wallet!![/b]

Yes, I am also in the habit of always bringing it out with me.

Jana- I think if your son gets in the habit of carrying his epi-pen, always beinjg careful, always asking if food is safe from cross-contamination, always refusing to eat questionable food - I think he can keep quite safe [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By Codyman on Wed, 06-18-03, 17:39

Has there been anything in the news to confirm that this man died from peanut allergy??
Reading the article, I didn't get the impression that he died from an allergic reaction. I took the statement regarding his allergy as info. about the man.

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By Cam's Mom on Thu, 06-19-03, 01:26

I contacted the reporter at the Tallahassee paper (I'm right here at Tallahassee) and they are doing a story regarding PA in Monday's addition, I will post the link when it comes out.

This story came out in Sunday's paper, Cam's first day at a summer program at school was Mon. I had the paper but hadn't read it and when I walked into his classroom the teacher asked if I had read yesterday's paper, when she told me, my heart dropped. Was not something I needed to hear his very first day of school.

I will also be contacting our smaller paper here to get some awareness out there and since Matt was such a huge figure here, it will get more attention. That sounds horrible and I feel for his mother and brother, but his death was preventable and if we can get more awareness out there, then maybe there will be less of these tragic deaths.

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By river on Thu, 06-19-03, 15:30

Bravo to you Cam's mom for taking the bull by the horns!

This young man should not have died and if there were more people willing to speak up like you---he may not have.

Even though so much of our energy is spent trying to keep our own children safe, by the same token we are helping others when we help ourselves.

(Also, no one in the U.S. has any idea how many people actually die from food allergies or from peanut allergies every year. There is nobody officially or accurately counting.)

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By Codyman on Thu, 06-19-03, 18:56

Cam's Mom and river: Did you receive confirmation that this man died from an allergic reaction to peanuts??

In the article it only stated that "he had a well-known allergy to peanuts" but it said he died of heart failure. I didn't read that the heart failure was due to an allergic reaction to peanuts!!

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By Jana R on Thu, 06-19-03, 22:59

Nick and Erik - thank-you for your reassurances. I know I have to trust my son but I still can't get past that these were intelligent men that slipped up once too many. I'm so sad for their families and nervous for mine.
(Nick - my British pen pal whom I've corresponded with since he and I were 14 once told me that "fanny" was not a term for proper folk to use - he was quite shocked when I refered to my son't bum bag as a fanny pack [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] - since then I have usually refered to it as a belt bag so as not to offend any one [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] - I don't know why I didn't in my earlier post!)

[This message has been edited by Jana R (edited June 19, 2003).]

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By AlwaysAvoidAnaphylaxis on Fri, 06-20-03, 03:18

After the kids went to bed, DH and I ordered take out indian food to eat at home. DH always asks, does this have nuts in it? We don't want obvious nuts in the house or in anything we eat. They said no.

THERE WERE CASHEWS IN IT!!!!!!!!!!!

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By Cam's Mom on Fri, 06-20-03, 03:23

Codyman,

I don't have confirmation, but the article pretty much made it apparant that is what is believed to have caused it.

Them stating that he was eating at a chinese buffet (buffet and chinese foods are very high risk seperatly, not too mention both together), then he felt ill and went to go to his room, etc.

I don't see how it could've been anything else. This man was a very healthy and athletic man, in excellent shape. It could have just been a natural heart failure, but there is alot more weight on the side of an allergic reaction causing the heart failure than simply a natural heart attack, IMO.

River, you are so right about the # of deaths being inaccurate! This man's death will be classified as heart failure, how many others are classified as something similar? Or better yet, unknown!

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By river on Fri, 06-20-03, 15:54

I thought it was pretty obvious that it was a PA death.

Again it should be emphasized to everybody with or dealing with PA that:

HEART FAILURE CAN HAPPEN IN ANAPHYLAXIS

So many people are often looking out only for the obvious signs of swelling, hives and breathing problems. But it is crucial to know that it can happen in such a way that the entire body goes into complete anaphylactic shock characterized by lethargy and eventual unconsciousness. The victim's entire system begins to shut down which includes the heart.

You're are likely right on the mark Cam's mom when you say that likely these deaths often go in the record books as heart failure.

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By on Sun, 06-22-03, 23:05

When I read the article, I just assumed that his death (and heart failure causing it) was due to a PA reaction. I think, for me, aside from knowing that heart failure would be the ultimate or last phase of a reaction, it was the Chinese food mention that clicked for me. I don't know. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] It's certainly not like I wanted to read that this young man had died because of his allergy and not because of a heart attack or heart failure. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Sad regardless.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

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By Cam's Mom on Tue, 06-24-03, 01:02

Here's the link to a follow-up story to Matt's death focusing on the dangers of peanut allergy in todays paper. It was really good and although the story itself wasn't on the front page, it had a top headline directed to the article.

[url="http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/democrat/living/health/6135257.htm"]http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/democrat/living/health/6135257.htm[/url]

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By Danielle on Tue, 06-24-03, 23:44

I just read this article but this 10% statistic is new to me. Has anyone else heard that 10% don't make it even if the epi has been used in time. This makes me cringe.

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By Codyman on Fri, 06-27-03, 23:06

In the follow up article posted by Cam's Mom I clearly read that this man died from Peanut Allergy. In reading the first article, I did not clearly read that this was his cause of death!!
Thanks for the clarification.

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By momma2boys on Thu, 09-04-03, 13:41

raising for synthia

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By momma2boys on Thu, 11-04-04, 20:10

raising for Jason

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By synthia on Thu, 11-04-04, 21:06

momma2boys

Thank you

I recall all these storys and could not for the life of find the print out!
thanks again.

------------------
Love this site
Synthia

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By synthia on Wed, 03-23-05, 01:32

[url="http://www.theday.com/eng/web/news/re.aspx?re=4E5ADF93-6134-4440-9BBE-E7072556269F"]http://www.theday.com/eng/web/news/re.aspx?re=4E5ADF93-6134-4440-9BBE-E7072556269F[/url]
Tragedy Now A Celebration Of Life At FSU

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