In Memory of Gina

53 replies [Last post]
By momma2boys on Wed, 01-26-05, 20:41

By now most of us have read about the death of Gina Hunt, 14. I was thinking about this horrible tragedy, and how her family is making a mission out of this tragedy. We are a peanut allergy support group and I feel we should be helping them.

What if we all printed out the article about her death, and her family fighting for signs at restaurants. All we have to do is make copies and send them to the restaurants around us and nearby malls. Even if we can get some of them to post signs it may help another pa individual. It may prevent another tragedy [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] .

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By momma2boys on Wed, 01-26-05, 20:43

Here is the article

[url="http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/charlotte/news/10735155.htm"]http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/charlotte/news/10735155.htm[/url]

Restaurant warnings urged after teen's death

Postings sought for those with allergies

GAIL SMITH-ARRANTS AND KAREN GARLOCH

Staff Writers

CONCORD - Early Saturday afternoon, Gina Marie Hunt, 14, excitedly called her grandmother, who was shopping nearby in Concord Mills. She had found a $50 sweater on sale for $5.

Then the Concord eighth-grader went to the food court with a friend to get Chinese food.

About 20 minutes later, Gina collapsed. She died shortly afterward of a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, her mother said at the graveside service Tuesday afternoon.

Now her mother, local health officials and other area parents whose children are allergic to peanuts are calling on restaurants to post warnings if they use peanuts or peanut traces as ingredients.

Experts say peanut allergies are becoming more common. Among the most dangerous food allergens, peanuts can cause a violent reaction with a drop in blood pressure and closing of airways.

Gina and her family were extremely cautious about her allergy, said her mother, Sandra Price.

Price even asked Northwest Cabarrus Middle School officials to make sure that on field trips, Gina would ride in a bus with no peanut snacks or peanut-butter sandwiches aboard.

But this one time, said her grandmother Nina Realmuto, Gina was "caught up in the moment" and forgot to ask whether the food at Yeung's Lotus Express contained peanut products.

She also wasn't carrying her syringe of epinephrine, which can reduce the effects of severe allergic reactions, Price said.

Gina, realizing she was having an allergic attack, called Realmuto on her cell phone.

Gina, who also had asthma, used the inhaler she kept in her purse.

"She said, `I'm throwing up. We have to go home,' " Realmuto said.

But by the time she found her, Gina was on her stomach on the floor of the mall.

A nurse came by and performed CPR.

Cabarrus County paramedics gave Gina epinephrine shots and took her to NorthEast Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead about 2:30 p.m.

Price said she didn't get the name of the nurse who tried to help her daughter but would like to thank her.

"They just couldn't get her heart started," Realmuto said.

Restaurant warnings

Price said her family was vigilant about checking labels. But perhaps because she hadn't had any violent reactions in years, Gina didn't always carry her epinephrine pack."She's been reading boxes since she was a little girl," Price said of food ingredient labels. Gina also was allergic to eggs and dairy products, she said.

"Just the day before, when she was getting sorbet, she said, `I could die' " from peanuts, Realmuto said.

Price said she will push for restaurants to post warnings on whether they use peanuts or peanut products in their food.

Restaurants aren't required to post such warnings, said Fred Pilkington, executive director of the Cabarrus Health Alliance.

"It's an excellent idea because teenagers don't always ask questions like that, and they don't know they're getting a peanut ... product," he said.

In a check Tuesday, no fast-food stops in the mall's food court had signs warning about peanut ingredients.

Efforts to reach Bethesda, Md.-based HMS Host, which owns Yeung's Lotus Express, were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Peanut allergies growing

Peanut allergies got national attention in 1998 when the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered airlines to set aside peanut-free zones for allergic passengers.

When Gina was 2, Price said, she had a severe attack on an airplane that served peanuts.

The prevalence of peanut allergy in children doubled in five years, according to a study published in the December 2003 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Today, about 1.6 million Americans have peanut allergies, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, an advocacy group for the 7 million people in the United States with food allergies.

The group estimates about one in every 125 children has peanut allergy.

Among food allergies, peanut allergy is the most dangerous, said Dr. Richard Roberts at Carolina Asthma and Allergy Center in Charlotte.

Injections of epinephrine should be administered quickly, he said; otherwise, "most people die within minutes."

A recent study showed that teens with food allergy and asthma appear to be at highest risk, because they often dine out, are less likely to carry medications and may fail to recognize symptoms, according to FAAN.

Other area parents reacted strongly to the news of Gina's death and said they worry for their allergic children.

"I spent a good part of the morning crying for this family," said Nicola Carter of Charlotte, who has two children, ages 7 and 9, with peanut allergies. She said most people don't understand when parents ask for signs at restaurants or special accommodations at school.

"It's such an awful, awful tragedy to lose a child over something like this," she said.

-- STAFF WRITERS RONNIE GLASSBERG AND LENA WARMACK CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE.

-- GAIL SMITH-ARRANTS: (704) 786-2185; GSMITH-ARRANTS @CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM.

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By InMemoryOfGina on Tue, 08-30-11, 15:32

Gina was one of my best friends. I'd like to thank you for spreading the word about peanut allergies. But if you want to use Gina's picture or her story I ask you to ask her mother before you do. She wasn't just some tragedy was an amazing girl and really funny. She meant alot to everyone around her. So while I don't mind you trying to spread the word to food places to try and stop this from happening again. Please try to contact her mother before you use Gina's story.

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By mommyofmatt on Wed, 01-26-05, 21:03

You read my mind! I posted the same thing in one of her threads. I'm all for it!! Anything that we can do so another parent or loved one can be prevented from going through this tragedy!

Meg

__________________

***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to
Matt 3 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 3 yrs. NKA

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By tcperrine on Wed, 01-26-05, 21:07

I'm in! I'll hit the restaurants in Melbourne, FL and I will try to get a few in Orlando. Way too many to commit to all of them. Would be nice if some restaurants received muplitple communications, wouldn't it?!

Carolyn

[This message has been edited by tcperrine (edited January 26, 2005).]

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By synthia on Wed, 01-26-05, 21:07

Count me in !!!!

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Love this site
Synthia

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Love this site
Synthia

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By momma2boys on Wed, 01-26-05, 21:11

OK, as long as you guys are willing to do this I am going to contact the newspaper that ran this article and let her know we are doing this in Gina's memory, and maybe they can relay our support to her family. What do you think?

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By momma2boys on Wed, 01-26-05, 21:18

I'm going to type up a letter to mail to the restaurants with the article, if anyone wants, I will post it later.

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By sebastian on Thu, 01-27-05, 08:19

Count me in! Mommabear, I would like a copy of the letter you are drafting to send with the article..Thanks!

shelley

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By mommyofmatt on Thu, 01-27-05, 14:34

Momma2boys,
I think it's a great idea to contact the newspaper that published the article. I'd be interested in seeing your letter too.

I was thinking I'd walk into places with the letter and see how that goes.

Meg

__________________

***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to
Matt 3 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 3 yrs. NKA

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By synthia on Thu, 01-27-05, 14:54

Quote:Originally posted by momma2boys:
[b]I'm going to type up a letter to mail to the restaurants with the article, if anyone wants, I will post it later.[/b]

Could you please send me the letter via e-mail?

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

__________________

Love this site
Synthia

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By ElleMo on Thu, 01-27-05, 15:07

While it would be extremely helpful to have restaurants post signs about the use of peanuts & the top allergenic foods, the real issue with this particular situation was lack of education and awareness.

We need to have better education for people with allergies, especially teens and young adults who, as quoted in the article, get "caught up in the moment."

Regardless of whether or not a sign is posted, an informed PA person would know to never eat at a Chinese restaurant and should always carry an epi.

I would be interested in any ideas anyone has in regards to this.

__________________

Elle
Allergic to Shellfish
Mom to Jesse 2001, allergic to peanuts, legumes, chickpeas

Sometimes I just want to say "blah blah blah blah blah."

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By momma2boys on Thu, 01-27-05, 15:28

This is what I have so far... I'm not the best writer so if anyone has any input, let me know and we can finish it up.

January 26, 2005

To Whom It May Concern:

On January 22, 2005, 14-year-old Gina Marie Hunt suffered a fatal reaction to peanuts. She was at a restaurant in a mall in North Carolina with a friend, and did not know her meal contained peanuts. 20 minutes later, Gina was dead.

In an effort to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again, her family is urging restaurants to post signs if they use peanuts, peanut oil, or peanut traces as ingredients. As a member of a peanut allergy support group, we are joining their efforts.

We strongly urge all restaurants to display some kind of warning sign if you use the above ingredients. Peanut allergy is on the rise and is one of the most deadly food allergies. One simple sign could have saved Gina

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By momma2boys on Thu, 01-27-05, 15:33

ElleMo, I completely agree with what you are saying. I have no idea how we can work to educate though. I just feel that alot of teenagers are uncomfortable asking questions, and had their been a sign she could have just said, "No, I don't feel like Chinese today." And in the case that she forgot to ask, it would have reminded her.

I think in the letter we could also ask restaurant managers to educate their employees so they have the right answers to our questions when we eat there.

I really have a hard time with this one, I guess because eating at the mall is something we do, and while we don't eat Chinese, we all know that peanuts show up in the strangest places. And unfortunately I am sure many of us have forgotten the epi pen on at least one occasion. We are all human and we all make mistakes. The sad part is that in this case one mistake can prove to be fatal.

I did write a letter to the newspaper and told her of our efforts and asked if there was any way she could relate our condolences and our efforts to the family. I will post a response if I get one.

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By Peg541 on Thu, 01-27-05, 15:59

Quote:Originally posted by ElleMo:
[b]While it would be extremely helpful to have restaurants post signs about the use of peanuts & the top allergenic foods, the real issue with this particular situation was lack of education and awareness.

We need to have better education for people with allergies, especially teens and young adults who, as quoted in the article, get "caught up in the moment."

Regardless of whether or not a sign is posted, an informed PA person would know to never eat at a Chinese restaurant and should always carry an epi.

I would be interested in any ideas anyone has in regards to this.[/b]

I agree completely. Yes restaurants should have signs for the major allergens but a teenager "caught up in the moment" might miss the sign as well.

Our children should never never be eating in Chinese restaurants in the first place. And they should NEVER eat away from home without a lot of thinking first.

More education is needed when the initial diagnosis is given. Right then and there to start them off. This girl was old enough to be totally responsible for her allergy and her food choices. The results were tragic and should be a learning experience for the rest of us.

Peg

__________________

Peggy

Son 22 Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, tomatoes, soy, milk, oats, fish.

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By ajas_folks on Thu, 01-27-05, 16:28

Quote:Originally posted by Peg541:
[b]
Our children should never never be eating in Chinese restaurants in the first place. And they should NEVER eat away from home without a lot of thinking first.
Peg[/b]

[i] Our feelings exactly! [/i]

EB & family

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Posts NOT to be used by anyone w/o my written consent.

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By momma2boys on Thu, 01-27-05, 16:38

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum8/HTML/000994.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum8/HTML/000994.html[/url]

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By robinlp on Thu, 01-27-05, 17:12

My son even knows that all chinese food is a no-no...I am assuming that her parents had a wide comfort zone and she ate it often since she didn't even stop to think that I am having this food and my epi isn't w/ me.

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By renny on Thu, 01-27-05, 17:47

I don't think we should be critiquing the behavoir of this girl and her family. We can question what went wrong and hopefully take that knowledge to educate ourselves and our children but to assume negligence on her or her parents I think IMHO is crossing the line.

I'm sure all of us have stories about the numerous times we tell our child something and they do the complete opposite. I'm sure we all remember the really stupid things we did when we were younger. One thing is different, we survived.

Children can get caught up in the moment so easily. They can sometimes forget the simplest of things, even something that can kill them. I'm sure her parents are questioning themselves more then we could ever. Hindsight is 20/20 they say.

My prayers go out to her family and I am sure her death will not be in vain. It will raise awareness in others and just may prevent this tragedy from happening in our lives.

Best to all,
renny

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By robinlp on Thu, 01-27-05, 18:34

Personally, I was not criticizing her parents or her at all. I guess talking about it and why it happened is my way of letting myself know how I can control this w/ my own child and answering my own question as to how to prevent this and what my child and I need to do to keep him safe. I honestly meant no criticism. I see nothing wrong w/ us all discussing this and educating ourselves and/or comforting ourselves. After all, this is a support group and we can't always paint a shiny picture on PA.

[This message has been edited by robinlp (edited January 27, 2005).]

[This message has been edited by robinlp (edited January 27, 2005).]

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By Sarahfran on Thu, 01-27-05, 20:04

Quote:Originally posted by ElleMo:
[b]While it would be extremely helpful to have restaurants post signs about the use of peanuts & the top allergenic foods, the real issue with this particular situation was lack of education and awareness.

We need to have better education for people with allergies, especially teens and young adults who, as quoted in the article, get "caught up in the moment."

Regardless of whether or not a sign is posted, an informed PA person would know to never eat at a Chinese restaurant and should always carry an epi.

I would be interested in any ideas anyone has in regards to this.[/b]

This may well be true, but it's the equivalent of saying that smokers should know that cigarettes are dangerous, so why should there be any warnings on the packages? Or that people who eat potato chips should know that they are high in fat and bad for you, so why should they include nutritional labelling? Better education of the people affected by these products is fine and dandy, but doubling the chances of a person getting the message by labelling properly and providing warnings for the major allergens just makes sense; if nothing else, it would mean that you wouldn't have to rely on uneducated restaurant workers for product information (just try it sometime--most of the minimum wage workers at mall food courts don't know what they're selling, not in any helpful sense) and the restaurant owners wouldn't have to worry about law suits when their product kills someone.

I've printed up this article and I'm sending it to the guy at work in charge of our lobby concessions.

Sarah

__________________

*****ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*****

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By jtolpin on Thu, 01-27-05, 20:12

I do not have a 14 yo daughter, so I cant comment on what goes on with their minds...

But if I was in the mall (and I do go, sometimes), if I saw a sign, by a chinese food FF place, that said 'may contain peanuts...'.. If DW ate there before, shed eat there again. And if this child ate at this particular place before, why wouldn't it be safe again?

My DW whos anaph to peanuts eats chinese food when we order it (a few times/year). We only order certain things, but she avoids the most obvious, probably something this young girl did as well...

Would she order the same food the next time? Probably.. if she ate it before.

Is it the restaurants fault? For what? I dont think the eatery is at fault for anything. (right now, I dont think so... if more info comes out, then thats another story... like if she ASKED if it contained peanuts, or something like that... doesnt take away the facts though -- a little girl lost her life over FA's)

Then again, what I say means nothing.

A life was lost, and we mourn for her. Plain and simple. End of story.

Our family's condolences, again, go out to this girls family, and should they need ANYTHING from us (support of ANY kind), we oblige unconditionally, for it could be one of US next time.

Jason

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[b]* ENRICHED * [/b]

__________________

[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]

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By Peg541 on Thu, 01-27-05, 20:56

I was not criticizing this girl or her family. I was simply stating that MY SON is prepared to handle an emergency should he accidentally encounter one and situations like this (as tragic as they are) are used as learning experiences for us all.

Peggy

__________________

Peggy

Son 22 Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, tomatoes, soy, milk, oats, fish.

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By robinlp on Thu, 01-27-05, 21:45

Peggy...You and your son are definitely role models to me! I often read your posts and think that is how I want my son to be w/ his allergies when he grows up. You have done a great job.

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By ajas_folks on Thu, 01-27-05, 21:51

Neither were we meaning any criticism -- merely echoing a wise statement (by Peg) which describes a part of our way of daily/always dealing with PA.

IMHO, all too often it seems that PA & TNA deaths involve too-risky behavior and are in combination with ABSENCE of Epi-pen.

We all are desperately trying to keep our kids alive -- and I'm certain we all grieve for this family's tragic loss.

EB

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Posts NOT to be used by anyone w/o my written consent.

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By Peg541 on Thu, 01-27-05, 22:46

Quote:Originally posted by robinlp:
[b]Peggy...You and your son are definitely role models to me! I often read your posts and think that is how I want my son to be w/ his allergies when he grows up. You have done a great job.[/b]

Thank you, I appreciate this.
Peggy

__________________

Peggy

Son 22 Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, tomatoes, soy, milk, oats, fish.

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By mae on Fri, 01-28-05, 04:13

Peg - I have followed your son's journey into college, with all the food issues, as we will be there with our son one day. He is becoming much more vocal and questioning when we dine out.

At one point we discussed not going to restaurants with him (he's 10 now) - as his questions got quite intense. But we know it is "his" allergy, so he need to get used to asking the questions.

I really value your input here, Peg. Please keep us posted with your son's journey.

I'm just catching up with the story on Gina..so sad...

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By on Fri, 01-28-05, 05:03

I so understand what both sides are saying. We don't eat Chinese food. As I posted in a couple of other threads, we have on occasion left the house without Jesse's Epi-pen, but not without the one in my purse.

When we ask, as we do have the right, if there was an Epi-pen and why she was eating Chinese food (perhaps as was posted a different comfort zone than some of us have), it does tend to have a "blame the victim" tone to it, which I know is not what we are trying to do.

I think bottom line is that this could happen to any of us/our PA children and that scares the bejesus out of us.

It stated in the article that Gina had been reading labels since time began, just as my son has.

I just pray to the Spirit that guides me that he will look after my son and that hopefully my guy will always have his Epi-pen and know to ask questions about the food he is about to ingest.

Educate our children to the best of our abilities and then quite frankly, we can only hope and pray for the best.

Even PA adults, not simply teens can make mistakes or have something go horribly wrong, even with precautions in place and die (National Post editor from about four years ago).

It broke my heart yesterday when Jesse asked if the girl was one of our PA.com friends (he considers everyone posting here our friends), and my soul, what happens one day should it be one of our friends?

And then it all becomes too much to think about.

A child is dead. Mistakes were quite clearly made, but who here hasn't made mistakes even with regard to PA?

Is there any information about where to send a sympathy card?

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

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By Peg541 on Fri, 01-28-05, 06:11

Quote:Originally posted by mae:
[b]Peg - I have followed your son's journey into college, with all the food issues, as we will be there with our son one day. He is becoming much more vocal and questioning when we dine out.

At one point we discussed not going to restaurants with him (he's 10 now) - as his questions got quite intense. But we know it is "his" allergy, so he need to get used to asking the questions.

I really value your input here, Peg. Please keep us posted with your son's journey.

I'm just catching up with the story on Gina..so sad...[/b]

Thank you mae, I appreciate the words. I keep updating the college thread because sooner or later most of the folks here will need some college help. I am glad to see it followed and thought after.

Peg

__________________

Peggy

Son 22 Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, tomatoes, soy, milk, oats, fish.

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By renny on Fri, 01-28-05, 16:01

Quote:Originally posted by Alternative to Mainstream:
[b]I so understand what both sides are saying. We don't eat Chinese food. As I posted in a couple of other threads, we have on occasion left the house without Jesse's Epi-pen, but not without the one in my purse.

When we ask, as we do have the right, if there was an Epi-pen and why she was eating Chinese food (perhaps as was posted a different comfort zone than some of us have), it does tend to have a "blame the victim" tone to it, which I know is not what we are trying to do.

I think bottom line is that this could happen to any of us/our PA children and that scares the bejesus out of us.

It stated in the article that Gina had been reading labels since time began, just as my son has.

I just pray to the Spirit that guides me that he will look after my son and that hopefully my guy will always have his Epi-pen and know to ask questions about the food he is about to ingest.

Educate our children to the best of our abilities and then quite frankly, we can only hope and pray for the best.

Even PA adults, not simply teens can make mistakes or have something go horribly wrong, even with precautions in place and die (National Post editor from about four years ago).

It broke my heart yesterday when Jesse asked if the girl was one of our PA.com friends (he considers everyone posting here our friends), and my soul, what happens one day should it be one of our friends?

And then it all becomes too much to think about.

A child is dead. Mistakes were quite clearly made, but who here hasn't made mistakes even with regard to PA?

Is there any information about where to send a sympathy card?

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

Thank you A2M, you put it much more eloquently than I.

Best wishes to all,

renny

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By ElleMo on Fri, 01-28-05, 19:04

Quote:Originally posted by renny:
[b] I don't think we should be critiquing the behavoir of this girl and her family.[/b]

I don't think anyone was criticizing the parents or the girl. I know I wasn't. I (& I think most of the posters) are merely disecting what happened and trying to figure out a way to prevent something like this from happening again.

I've left my house without an epi, but I always make sure that I have the epi before I give my DD anything to eat. & the one time I didn't have the epi and we were about to eat, I made my poor hungry daughter go back to the car to go home.

It's that kind of thing that I think needs to somehow be drilled into any food allergic child. Routines that become automatic. Take epi everywhere. Double check whatever you eat. Make sure you have the epi before you eat.

Ellen

__________________

Elle
Allergic to Shellfish
Mom to Jesse 2001, allergic to peanuts, legumes, chickpeas

Sometimes I just want to say "blah blah blah blah blah."

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By ElleMo on Fri, 01-28-05, 19:11

Quote:Originally posted by Sarahfran:
[b] This may well be true, but it's the equivalent of saying that smokers should know that cigarettes are dangerous, so why should there be any warnings on the packages? Or that people who eat potato chips should know that they are high in fat and bad for you, so why should they include nutritional labelling? [/b]

I am not saying the restaurants shouldn't put signs up, but I think that education is even more important.

__________________

Elle
Allergic to Shellfish
Mom to Jesse 2001, allergic to peanuts, legumes, chickpeas

Sometimes I just want to say "blah blah blah blah blah."

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By e-mom on Fri, 01-28-05, 19:33

I definitely didn't think that anyone was blaming this poor child. I also don't think the restaurant is to blame either. I just think that we are all very frustrated with knowing that an epi-pen wasn't around yet again. Most of us on this board have children younger than Gina and I think we are all just scared to death when we hear about another death that probably could have been prevented. Our kids are growing and in a few short years will be teenagers. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

We don't know all the facts yet. But as some have already mentioned it doesn't matter because this girl lost her life to the very thing that we all have in common. It's quite frightening to say the least imagining if that was my child.

I've always been behind about more education is needed. Maybe for everyone. Putting signs in windows of restaurants will help and that to me in itself will help educate people as it will be noticed. I know of a few restaurants that have peanut and nut notices in their restaurants as well as drive through windows. Everytime when I see it, I have a little smile because I know that others see it too. They might not fully understand the severity but atleast they see the sign.

__________________

[b]***ADDICTED***[/b]

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By Ree on Fri, 01-28-05, 19:40

I'm pretty new here, but I thought I throw my 2 cents in. I think the sign idea is great, but it kind of scares me a bit. I think it may create a false sense of security for people. What if the sign happens to fall down one day and no one that works there puts it back up? What if everyone gets used to the signs and just looks for them and doesn't ask questions? What if it doesn't include all allergens and people that have severe milk allergies don't get the warning for them. I think I'd almost rather see signs everywhere that say "Please tell us if you have any food allergies b/c our ingredients may be harmful." I don't know...it just scares me putting the responsibility in someone elses hands.

That being said...I feel horrible that this happened, as everyone does, and would absolutely participate in this effort in the Buffalo area.

------------------
Ree
Mom to:
Sean 3yrs - PA & EG
Brian 1yr - MA

[This message has been edited by Ree (edited January 28, 2005).]

__________________

Mom to
5 yr DS - PA & EA
3 yr DS - MA, EA & PA
1 yr DS - KNA

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By momma2boys on Fri, 01-28-05, 19:42

Ree, I live about 45 minutes from Buffalo! Are you in Buffalo or closeby?

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By ryan's mom on Fri, 01-28-05, 22:26

Adding my two cents.

I feel terrible for the family and the loss of their daughter. This is such a horrible and unfortunate incident.

However, we (the PA community) know that it was preventable. Education is the key here and we must drill into our children's heads that they never go anywhere without an epi. Never means never. Just because a person hasn't had a reaction in years or can't remember ever having one is no excuse not to carry one. ESPECIALLY when eating at any type of restaurant.

I told Ryan of this girl's death. There are two things we wouldn't do--go out of the house without an epi and eat Chinese (or any type of Asian food). Period. But I also added, this goes for any restaurant. In fact, when you go to a restaurant, you should have a minimum of two epipens, but I recommend (to Ryan) to have four. This is for the future since we don't visit sit-down restaurants because of PA.

Gina Hunt's death makes me worry. More so for all the PA kids at my son's school and everywhere for that matter whose parents don't seem to be so careful. Children tend to adopt the attitudes and behaviors of the parents. Of all of those kids, Ryan is one of the VERY few, if not the only one, that wears an epibelt so the epipen is with him all the time. There are so many situations being potential disasters, with many of them being preventable. So not only do I worry about Ryan everyday, I worry even more about those with no epipens, no 504's, really no safeguards at all for their food allergy(s).

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By Ree on Fri, 01-28-05, 22:35

Momma2boys - I'm gonna post you a message in Off-Topic..

[This message has been edited by Ree (edited January 28, 2005).]

__________________

Mom to
5 yr DS - PA & EA
3 yr DS - MA, EA & PA
1 yr DS - KNA

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By renny on Sat, 01-29-05, 00:28

I feel I need to clarify my post. I completely understand why we want to know what happened and why. We have more than enough reason to. I agree in discussing and analyzing the facts that we know to see if we can learn from this or educate others.

I guess I felt a previous post or two was bordering on blaming the child or parents by making assumptions. The fact is we don't know anything about them and I feel by making assumptions we are in turn judging them. I didn't feel that would be fair to those poor parents. If I interpreted some posts wrong then I apologize.

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By Going Nuts on Sat, 01-29-05, 14:00

Although I'd be thrilled to see restaurants putting up signs, I can't imagaine any sort of consistency being achieved by approaching this on a volunatary basis. I think something like this would have to be legislated. Thoughts, Nutternomore?

As for any criticism of Gina and her family, I never saw the comments as criticism, just our attempts at making sense of something that is just incomprehensible for us. As my own 11 year old PA son approaches his teen years, I'm already seeing signs of rebellion in a child who just six months ago was absolutely, totally trustworthy in dealing with this allergy.

He is rebelling against carrying his epimate, because he's very into sports and can't wear it while playing, and doesn't want to be bothered (or is afraid he'll lose it) if he takes it off and puts in somewhere. A few weeks ago while I attending to my mom, my DH sent him to a friend's house without the pen. First mistake - neither of them noticed it. Second mistake came when she made them pasta and jarred sauce - he didn't question what kind of sauce it was, check the ingredients or call me. Mind you, by this time he realized he didn't have the epipen and ate anyway. Completely, totally freaked me out. Not a week later, he asked permission to leave the school cafeteria's peanut free table where he has sat happily for 5 years, as he really wanted to join the "jock table" (his words, not mine).

The mind of an adolescent (or pre-adolescent) is a mysterious thing. *Sigh*

Amy
(who seems to be finding more and more gray hairs every day)

[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited January 29, 2005).]

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By mommyofmatt on Sat, 01-29-05, 17:51

Amy,

Oh man, there's always a new journey with PA isn't there? I tried to put myself in your shoes for a minute, and I didn't like wearing them at all. I can see how this could be a really scary time to have a teenager who happens to have PA. I'm sure Gina's story scared you [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Perhaps a spa day is in order for you [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] As a matter of fact, what if you told your dh that any time the epipen is forgotten when you're not around it's an automatic spa day or shopping day? I think that would stick in my dh's head. He'd remember all those $$$ signs dancing in his head, [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Back to the whole sign issue, I can see everyone's point in that it's more complicated than simply posting signs and that other issues may arise.

But right now, in most establishments there's nothing. Personally, I think a sign is better than nothing. If it's voluntary, I don't think people would assume that if there is no sign in one restaurant, than the place is safe to eat.

I'm hoping that if establishments cooperate, it could just be a gentle reminder to those wayward teens that eating out for them is more complicated, that they need to always ask questions.

It's also an outside authority reminding them of their allergy, not good old mom and dad.

So, that's just my thought. Am I just being naive and oversimplifying it? Maybe. But what's the harm in going into some restaurants and trying it?

Meg

__________________

***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to
Matt 3 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 3 yrs. NKA

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By Naturemom on Sat, 01-29-05, 22:10

I would like to see ingredient listings for all menu items required to be easily accessible to patrons. And, for restaurant foods to be held to the same standard as manufactured foods. Then, allergic individuals wouldn't have to rely on possibly uneducated staff, and they wouldn't have to stand out, grilling their servers, when ordering with friends and co-workers. They could just look it up.

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By Going Nuts on Sun, 01-30-05, 22:12

Quote:Originally posted by mommyofmatt:
[b]Amy,

Perhaps a spa day is in order for you [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] As a matter of fact, what if you told your dh that any time the epipen is forgotten when you're not around it's an automatic spa day or shopping day? I think that would stick in my dh's head. He'd remember all those $$$ signs dancing in his head, [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] [/b]

Oooh Meg, I like the way you think! It's always been my not-so-secret fantasy to spend a weekend at a spa! Of course, I'd rather that he never have to pay up! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

[b] Quote:It's also an outside authority reminding them of their allergy, not good old mom and dad.[/b]

Always a good thing. Carries more weight sometimes!

[b] Quote:I would like to see ingredient listings for all menu items required to be easily accessible to patrons. And, for restaurant foods to be held to the same standard as manufactured foods. Then, allergic individuals wouldn't have to rely on possibly uneducated staff, and they wouldn't have to stand out, grilling their servers, when ordering with friends and co-workers. They could just look it up. [/b]

While this would be difficult in many restaurants, it could certaily be easily done in chain establishments with set menus.

Amy

[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited January 30, 2005).]

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By jtolpin on Mon, 01-31-05, 15:35

Maybe its just naive of me, or that because I havent BTDT yet...

If I took a peanut allergic child, to say, McD's, would I be concerned? Probably not, as a chain like that has a good website, you've done your homework, etc.. and feel safe with it.

Would I take a PA child to say other place, say 'outback steakhouse' or 'friendlys' or ANYTHING else?

I have NO idea... I really don't.

Gina's death really frightens me for the future of MY daughter, and sometimes I think about the FA community in general, and NOT my daughter.

We don't take her ANYWHERE to eat (yet). But what happens when we do.

Will be be totally happy too take her to McD's? OMG - YES -- Safely.

Will I be umm.. poopin' my pants the whole time? Hell yes. Nervous wreck, the first, and every time thereafter...absolutely.

It's too scary for me to think about, about going out to eat with her... now, AND the future.

I lost my train of thought completely here...

But I guess my question, to which I KNOW the answer, unfortunately, is 'How do I let my child let go of MY aprons strings, send her off into the world, and yet keep her safe, within my control? How do I allow her to put her life at risk, and trust a X yr old 'child' working at a restaurant?'

My god... too overwhelming.. and too early to get philosophical...

Back to coffee.

Jason

------------------
[b]* ENRICHED * [/b]

__________________

[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]

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By mommyofmatt on Mon, 01-31-05, 15:54

Jason,

We took the kids to McDonald's for the first time last weekend [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]. All turned out ok for US. I know your dd has more going on than my ds, so I'm not telling you to run out and go, just mentioning it. (Not that you'd run out and go anyway...hopefully you know what I mean [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img])

When I think of posting signs in restaurants, I'm not thinking of my ds. I don't know when IF ever we'll eat outside of large chains like McDonald's. Chains that have webpages prepared about allergies, and prepare the food the same way all the time.

I'm thinking of the Gina's. Of people who aren't as educated about the dangers of eating Chinese or other high risk foods. It's those people that I'm naively thinking a sign might help.

As far as letting go of our kids as they get older, I agree, it's WAY too much to contemplate. I finally feel the "funk" from Gina's death lifting a bit, and I'm going to live in the controlling bliss that I have over my ds for as long as I can.

Amy: I don't want you to EVER have to use the spa day/shopping day either. But I'm glad you liked the idea [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------
***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to:
Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 2 yrs. NKA

__________________

***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to
Matt 3 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 3 yrs. NKA

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By jtolpin on Mon, 01-31-05, 16:16

Quote:Originally posted by mommyofmatt:
[b]Jason,

We took the kids to McDonald's for the first time last weekend [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]. All turned out ok for US. I know your dd has more going on than my ds, so I'm not telling you to run out and go, just mentioning it. (Not that you'd run out and go anyway...hopefully you know what I mean [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img])

When I think of posting signs in restaurants, I'm not thinking of my ds. I don't know when IF ever we'll eat outside of large chains like McDonald's. Chains that have webpages prepared about allergies, and prepare the food the same way all the time.

I'm thinking of the Gina's. Of people who aren't as educated about the dangers of eating Chinese or other high risk foods. It's those people that I'm naively thinking a sign might help.

[/b]

... but heres what I think...

What if Gina knew (or anyone, for that matter), that you WENT to a place before, ate there, just fine... and you saw a sign that said 'may contains peanuts...' Would that sway you from eating there?

I think of Ann going to a chinese place to eat... I dont know if she would now, as circumstances have changed for her (for the worse, in dealing with FA's).

But to put it in perspective, she goes to a seafood rest. with friends sometimes.. and orders salmon, or tuna, or whatever...
Chances are good they make SOMETHING with peanuts, nuts, tree nuts, et al, right?

Theres GOTTA be something unsafe, virtually EVERYWHERE, either known or not known.

So if you don't know about it, it could still hurt you...

Im rambling. I just can't fathom going out to eat with DW DD#2 now...

I mean, god... how do we walk out of the house every day? (No.. not that thread..)

How do I trust a 15 yo boy at McD's to not cook, say, chicken nuggets, or shrimp rolls (?) in my french fry oil. How? Do they care? Should they care? Did I, when [I] was 15?

I apologize for talking non-coherently right now...

Plate is full -- As our school is passing a no-food sharing policy as we speak (!) -- More to come on that, hopefully... But I've been very nervous of Caitlin going to school lately -- No reason, but just 'because' and seeing stories about Gina doesnt give me a warm/comfy feeling.

And I never told Ann about her passing either... And I usually do... This one story though, kinda hits close to home...too close.

Jason
Caitlin 4-17-00 Allergic to Dairy, Egg, Wheat, Bananas, Grapes, Rye, Sesame, Beef, Garlic, Mustard, Onion, Peas and Avoiding Latex and all Nuts
Sara 2-13-98 NKA (Avoiding Nuts)
Meghan 2-28-03 NKA (Avoiding Nuts)
[url="http://community.webshots.com/user/jtolpin"]http://community.webshots.com/user/jtolpin[/url]

------------------
[b]* ENRICHED * [/b]

__________________

[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]

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By Peg541 on Mon, 01-31-05, 16:55

Quote:Originally posted by jtolpin:
[b]
We don't take her ANYWHERE to eat (yet). But what happens when we do.
Will I be umm.. poopin' my pants the whole time? Hell yes. Nervous wreck, the first, and every time thereafter...absolutely.

It's too scary for me to think about, about going out to eat with her... now, AND the future.

[/b]

Jason, I still say if you take your child to a restaurant you feel is safe, the wait staff assures you that the food is safe and your child reacts? You have that epi pen in your pocket and the ability to call 911.

It will be scary but if you act quickly your child will be OK.

I might be naive here but I have seen my son's epi pen work immediately three times now. No not cure him but [b]HALT[/b] the reaction till help can get to us.

So stress [b]epi pen, epi pen, epi pen[/b] AND eliminate all thoughts of WAIT AND SEE which is deadly!

And still today when I am out eating with my son (he's 20 now) I still [b]HOLD MY BREATH[/b] as he takes that first bite of anything! I think I always will.

Peggy

__________________

Peggy

Son 22 Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, tomatoes, soy, milk, oats, fish.

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By momma2boys on Mon, 01-31-05, 17:01

Jason, please know that you are not alone in your feelings right now. I too, have this sudden uneasiness with sending my son to school. Again for no reason. Same with eating out. I find myself re-examining all our habits, etc.

I think the reason this case has hit us all so hard, we all know we have to let them go out on their own eventually.

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By katiee on Mon, 01-31-05, 17:23

Jason, I completely understand where you are going with this (I think [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] )

My youngest is PA, I have two older children, my 9 year old DD has a possible allergy to bananas (she gets tested this Wed.) and has environmental allergies, my 15 year old DD has some drug allergies and OAS and environmental allergies but that's it, no life threatening allergies for her.

I have wondered since reading about this child's death just how it a life threatening FA would have played out with my oldest DD. The fact is that you can educate, educate, educate but risky behaviour is something that many (not all) teens subscribe to. Think of all the teen smokers, teen pregnancies and STD's for instance. It scares the crap out of me, really. Would my DD take chances? Will my DS when he is a teen?

How do we prevent this tragedy from becoming our reality? Can any education really make a determined teen see what they have to do or not do to stay alive? Teens hate to be singled out, my DD has Scoliosis and had to have surgery and now has two titanium rods in her back. Her back will never be straight and there are some sports she can not do but somehow she manages to take chances anyway. She hates the limitations placed on her because of this, how would she react to food limitations? Not very well I'm afraid although she is extremely careful where her brother is concerned.

We've taken Wade to a select few restaurants, but I feel most comfortable at McDonald's and Wendy's. We travel to PEI every summer by car and I can't tell you how sick I get of McDonald's by the time the trip is over! I'm just too worried about other restaurants to even give it a try, maybe someday but not today.

I wish I had all the answers, wish we could keep them all safe, all the time.

Take care,

Katiee

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By Peg541 on Mon, 01-31-05, 18:54

I see lots of people worry about how their teens will handle PA someday. The one thing I can say about that is with a couple of big reactions under their belts most kids will understand that their PA is to be respected.

One of the first signs of anaphylaxis is a feeling of doom. Not too many people are willing to go thru that more than once.

Of course lots of us have little ones who do not remember their reactions, that is a different challenge.

We always went over the steps of what to do if DS was reacting. Over and over. Kind of when he did not expect it like in the car or when we were all together. Not singling him out but making sure he knew we all needed to know and remember.

When he had his first big reaction at age 14 we were all there. He used his epi pen and DH said "Lets take him to the pediatrician" In my mind was "&%$# he'll die in the waiting room" but I kept my mouth shut as I got ready to head off to the ER. Frankly I was too scared to talk, I had to move.

DS said "No dad, I need to go to the hospital NOW" and DH never blinked, we all got in the car and went to the hospital.

(Besides the fact I would never recommend you do this, always call 911, we know that now)

It was the training that kicked in and helped DS understand what was next. I also believe that this training and the reactions he has had are what kept him from rebelling as a teenager. He KNEW his life was at stake in very real way because he saw it passing before his eyes during a reaction.

I think PA is different than alcohol or speeding in a car. Teenagers see plenty of people speeding and drinking and not getting hurt but how many of them have had gone ahead and deliberately ignored their PA and done well?

So I think that if we keep on driving the point home to our kids. In a way they can understand, they will catch on and work to keep themselves safe. I think. I wonder what other parents of teens on this site say?

Peg

__________________

Peggy

Son 22 Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, tomatoes, soy, milk, oats, fish.

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By becca on Mon, 01-31-05, 19:10

Jason, I rememeber doing my research on Wendy's(for PA, egg allergy). It was a school vacation week from preschool, rainy, and we were bored and had cabin fever. Dd is a picky eater and I thought it might be fun to try Wendy's for the first time. Well, it might be fun for most families on a boring rainy day. Just a way to step out and we were not too busy should an emergency arise, 5 mins from the hospital, ugh. How many parents think of that to grab a bite at a fast food joint.

I asked about the frying oil. I swear the guy had an IQ of 25, but was so rude to me when I asked. Then, finally he got the container and slapped in on the counter for me to read. Fine, I rather read it myself, anyway!

Well we ordered a nugget meal, ff and frosty. I was shaking and could not eat my meal the whole time. For what??? For the experience and to learn it could be safely done in a pinch, I guess. She was fine. My nerves were shot for the afternoon!

It *is* nice, now, to have a couple of safe options on the road. We travel alot to in-laws out of state and it is fun for dd, now, and fairly relaxing for all of us now, to get a Happy Meal or a meal at Wendy's.

So, someday, it will be worth trying, but when you are ready! And everything Peg said! Be prepared. becca

[This message has been edited by becca (edited January 31, 2005).]

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By mommyofmatt on Mon, 01-31-05, 19:37

Jason,

Your last post got me thinking...Why did we go to McDonald's LAST weekend after Gina's death when we've avoided all restaurants since the diagnosis? I think we did to prove to ourselves we could and that he could be safe.

But you know what, even though I checked out the website, called the local McDonald's and asked more questions when I got there, I never thought to ask if they fry anything else in the oil they fry the fries with. DUH!(smacking head here!)

And, yes, we were nervous the whole time. Dh kept telling me to sit all the way in my chair. I was on the edge, ready to bolt.

I know I'm still new to navigating the outside world with food allergies. It was easy to keep him in a bubble for a while since he was 1 yr. old at diagnosis. Hopefully, my "newbieness" to this and my desire to "save the world with a sign" [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img] didn't tick anyone off who sees things from a more complex point of view.

Jason, I hope the food sharing policy that's being passed at your daughter's school is one that you feel will help protect her. Please keep us posted.

Peggy, thanks for your input on this. It's very helpful to see things from a parent of a child who's navigated their teen years successfully.

I know why this story got to me. The family of this poor girl made it personal for us. They filled in all the details that are usually sketchy from other deaths I've seen reported. I think Gina's family gave us all a little wake up call, and I'm grateful.

------------------
***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to:
Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 2 yrs. NKA

__________________

***[b] ALLERGY ELIMINATOR*** [/b]

Meg, mom to
Matt 3 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 3 yrs. NKA

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