Nathan and the national media

Posted on: Tue, 12/11/2001 - 1:59pm
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The original thread became corrupted, here is the text from the back up files.

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hbsmom
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posted May 24, 2001 09:59 PM
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I e-mailed KREM News and thanked them for providing such detailed and useful information on their site. I said I'd like to see it get national attention but I wasn't sure the national media would regard it as important. The executive producer replied and said the CBS Early Show has contacted the Walters' attorney about an interview for their morning program.
Hopefully this will get picked up and reach many more people.

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Beth
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posted May 25, 2001 11:25 AM
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I am so glad to hear this. I had contacted local TV news and our newspaper with this story, but so far have seen nothing. It infuriates me that this is in their hands and they could choose to ignore it for some of the "stupid fluff" stories they broadcast/print. A national morning show would definately help.
Beth
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Corvallis Mom
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posted May 25, 2001 01:17 PM
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Beth,
I understand completely what you are saying!!

I don't know about you, but I think its a little more important that the general public talk about severe food allergies and recognizing anaphylaxis than whether or not Keiko will finally be released to the wild.

I can't even get my local paper to print my letter to the editor!

Hang in there. I have begun "thinking out of the box" on this one.

Some of the things I have already done include e-mailing that KREM-2 link to the school board, a county health nurse (with a pa son), and the superintendant. I have told them the trouble I am having getting the media to listen to one parent and asked them to use their positions to get this heard.

I am also thinking about seeing if Nathan's family would let us use the beautiful, natural picture of him to promote awareness. Maybe make up a button with his picture on it that says "Nathan Walters was special- ask me why." I have found that his story is the most touching example of an anaphylaxis death simply because you are forced to explain what went wrong. Even people utterly ignorant of PA are forced to think in gruesome detail about how this child suffered because nobody recognized what to do.

Don't give up. I am not (though I am increasingly vitriolic in my feelings toward the media... ) As Dilbert said a few years ago... "MUST...CONTROL.... FIST...OF...DEATH" (It was about a woman trying to deal with an HR person, but I thought it expressed how I feel, too.) My mom has a saying- You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar! (But in this case, the shock is part of the story.)

Kudos to everyone who has been motivated to action by this tragedy. Let Nathan help to save other people!!

Shannon

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Linda-Jo
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posted June 03, 2001 10:43 AM
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I have just emailed this story to our local paper, The Boston Globe, in the hopes that they will print a story and stress the importance of taking this allergy seriously and getting help quickly. I'll keep you posted.
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Lam
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posted June 03, 2001 02:00 PM
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I just contacted the Today show. I don't remember if someone else has already posted this link or not, but here it is:
[url="http://www.msnbc.com/news/435157.asp#nbc"]www.msnbc.com/news/435157.asp#nbc[/url]

I really hope they'll look into this. My heart still aches over Nathan.

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Lam
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posted June 03, 2001 02:08 PM
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I just received a 'canned' response to my e-mail. I was given the following address to which we should send "story ideas":
Don Nash
Supervising Producer
30 Rockefeller Plaza, Rm. 374E
New York, NY 10112

I plan to type out my e-mail and send it off ASAP.

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Linda-Jo
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posted June 09, 2001 04:09 PM
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Our local newspaper today, The Boston Globe, which I emailed to run the article on Nathan, had an article entitled "Nut allergies put schools in a pickle" which came out of Rye Brook, NY. It mentioned one paragraph on Nathan towards the end of the article.
It read: "The importance of protecting allergic children was vividly demonstrated last month in Spokane, Wash., when a 9-year-old boy, known to be allergic, died after being given a peanut butter cookie during a field trip."

I'm glad to see they made reference to it, but I was hoping they would have done a full story.

I'm not computer savvy regarding links, but the Globe's website is boston.com, and the article appeared on page A12 of today's (Sat.6/9) paper. I'm not sure how to access it for those who are interested to read it.

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Chris PeanutAllergy Com
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posted August 21, 2001 10:31 PM
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Link to story update on KREM
[url="http://www.krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=11731"]http://www.krem.com/news/localnews.html?StoryID=11731[/url]

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Stay Safe,

[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

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Chris PeanutAllergy Com
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posted August 23, 2001 07:28 AM
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[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=082101&ID=s1010672&ca..."]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=082101&ID=s1010672&ca...
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Stay Safe,

[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

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Astrid
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posted August 30, 2001 11:37 PM
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Thanks for the updates, Chris.
I was wondering what the follow up would be....

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Nathan's Mom
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posted September 01, 2001 11:48 PM
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Here's the latest
[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=082601&ID=s1013671"]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=082601&ID=s1013671[/url]

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Chris PeanutAllergy Com
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posted October 12, 2001 04:40 PM
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test
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Stay Safe,

[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

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Jana R
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posted October 19, 2001 04:35 PM
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Here's a couple follow-up articles in the Spokeman Review
[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=100701&ID=s1035273"]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=100701&ID=s1035273[/url]
[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=100701&ID=s1035270"]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=100701&ID=s1035270[/url]

[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=101201&ID=s1037618"]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=101201&ID=s1037618[/url]

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Nathan's Mom
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posted October 24, 2001 07:37 PM
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Please be cautious about believing everything you read. The Spokane news media seems fixated on Nathan and have printed many things that cannot be verified.

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Heather2 posted 12-11-2001 10:15 AM ET (US)
To Nathan's Mom...I wanted to write this to you earlier but I've been really busy with my sick mom. I don't know if you're Catholic or not but in the Catholic religion November is All Souls Month. The chuch puts out a book and parishoners can write in names of deceased people they want to have prayers said for. I wrote my grandmother, my aunt and Nathan's name. I wanted you and Nathan's Dad to know that I have not forgotten him and continue to pray for him.
Heather
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Posted on: Sun, 12/23/2001 - 1:59pm
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Heather; though neither of us is Catholic, both Rick and I greatly appreciated the sentiment and thoughtfulness of adding Nathan to your prayer book. Thank you so much for remembering him in that way.
Sincerely,
Rick and Teresa

Posted on: Tue, 01/29/2002 - 7:07am
Jana R's picture
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Here's an article about changes in the Washington School District 81 spurred by Nathan's death:
[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=120701&ID=s1067113"]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/news-story.asp?date=120701&ID=s1067113[/url]

Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2002 - 11:23pm
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Nathan's dad emailed this link to us.
Here is part of the text from his email
>>The link below will forward you to KXLY and if you click on the camera you should get some of the interview done yesterday and part of the school board meeting.
[url="http://kxly.com/common/getStory.asp?id=19704"]http://kxly.com/common/getStory.asp?id=19704[/url]
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Stay Safe,
[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2002 - 11:32pm
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camera link
[url="http://media.kxly.com/stories/video/2002apr/walters.ram"]http://media.kxly.com/stories/video/2002apr/walters.ram[/url]
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Stay Safe,
[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2002 - 11:44pm
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Chris,I could barely get through watching this segment...I couldn't stop crying...
I lift them up in prayer this morning...I pray that the Lord will continue to give them the much needed strength and courage in bringing awareness and education to the public about food allergies. May God's grace and peace continue to bless the Walters family especially during this one year anniversary.

Posted on: Fri, 04/26/2002 - 1:18am
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Pass the kleenex.
I think what Mr.Walter's is doing is great and a wonderful tribute to Nathan!
I think every PA parent that knows this story has a special place in their hearts for Nathan.
Keep up the Good Work Mr. Walters your totally doing great things to honour your son.

Posted on: Fri, 04/26/2002 - 2:55am
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Chris,
Thank you for posting that camera link.
Mr. Walters, I am in awe of what you have been able to accomplish and of your positive attitude. Please know that you and Nathan are in all our prayers.
Amy

Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2002 - 12:09am
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I emailed this story to our school Superintendent, principal, teacher and school nurse along with a note saying how appreciate we are of their cooperation. Our daughter has a field trip on Tuesday, and this story is a timely reminder of why we are so insistent of safeguards. Thanks for sharing it...
Chris, will you also post the follow up story at 11 they referred to? The reporter said that she was reporting on the school board presentation with the Food Allergy Task Force's recommendations. If possible, it would be wonderful to post that segment also.
Thank you so much!
Gail

Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2002 - 3:49am
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Three new reports in the Spokesman Review that I found very informative. Have kleenex available especially for the two articles written 4/14. The one titled "District 81 settles . . . " has a horrifying description of what Nathan's last few hours were like - be prepared.
[url="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/NewsTrak/newstracks.asp?Direc=lists&ID=L93"]http://www.spokesmanreview.com/NewsTrak/newstracks.asp?Direc=lists&ID=L93[/url]
Rick, Teresa and Marc I pray for your continued healing and strength. I am so thankful especially for Rick's perserverance in making the world safer for children.

Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2002 - 9:25am
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Thank you, Jana.
Sad doesn't even begin to describe... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
God bless.

Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2002 - 4:03pm
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from the moment I read the first article until the last word constant tears streamed down my face, and continue as this moment.
God Bless all of the Walter's family in this sad time in their lives. Beautiful Nathan will be remembered. Forever in our hearts and prayers. I feel he is a "Guardian Angel" that watches over our pa children.
God Bless All of YOU!
Renee

Posted on: Thu, 05/02/2002 - 4:34am
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Here is the Food Allergy Task Force's report (53 pages!) posted to the Spokane SD's website:
[url="http://www.sd81.k12.wa.us/NutritionServices/pdf/FATF.pdf"]http://www.sd81.k12.wa.us/NutritionServices/pdf/FATF.pdf[/url]
(They keep changing the link!)
[This message has been edited by Jana R (edited February 09, 2003).]
[This message has been edited by Jana R (edited February 17, 2003).]

Posted on: Sat, 02/08/2003 - 10:25pm
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Chris
I was able to use one link on the bottom
Love this site
synthia

Posted on: Sun, 02/09/2003 - 8:02am
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The Spokane School District has lots of food allergy information because of Nathan. Their nutrition services dept. has many links for food allergies. [url="http://www.sd81.k12.wa.us/NutritionServices/Allergies/"]http://www.sd81.k12.wa.us/NutritionServices/Allergies/[/url]
(504 info, Epi-pen training, Food Allergy Task Force findings, Emergency Action Plan forms . . .)
In particular be sure to see the Power Point presentation with Nathan's Dad:
[url="http://www.sd81.k12.wa.us/NutritionServices/Allergies/Allergies.pps"]http://www.sd81.k12.wa.us/NutritionServices/Allergies/Allergies.pps[/url]
[This message has been edited by Jana R (edited February 17, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 01/07/2004 - 8:47am
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Raising this thread. Some of the above links are outdated but many still work.
I found the below at [url="http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/peanutallergy2/message/166?source=1"]http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/peanutallergy2/message/166?source=1[/url]
This is copied with permission from the original poster, Christy E. I still makes me so sad [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] to read about his final hours. One thing that is standing out to me now is that Nathan screamed to NOT be stuck with a shot - it sounds like his chaperones weren't confident about using the Epi-pen so perhaps they thought it would make Nathan calmer to not stick him. Maybe we should all remind and prepare caretakers that our child might cry/scream about the idea about being stuck with a needle but that they still need to do so if they suspect anaphylaxis.
Nathan Walters Spokane, WA -
>
> It was the first time the boy had gone on a field trip without a parent. Nathan, who had attended two other District 81 schools in the past year, had transferred to Logan Elementary about a month before the trip.
>
> Marc Tyler, One of Nathan's guardians, said he didn't pack a lunch for Nathan that day because the boy had been eating hot lunches at school for the past four months and never had problems with the food. Nathan knew to avoid raw eggs and peanut products, Tyler said.
>
> Like the rest of the students, Nathan received a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich, mixed nuts, an apple, carrot sticks and a peanut butter cookie.
>
> The lunch order was made by one of the two teachers, but a peanut-free lunch was never ordered for Nathan, district officials said last May. Nathan gave away the sandwich and nuts, but kept the cookie, which he may have mistaken for a sugar cookie, his classmates said last spring.
>
> As the students started the tour, Joni Park, a chaperone, recalled that one of the chaperones, a
> parent who also identified herself as a licensed practical nurse, told her that she was returning to the bus with a sick boy. It was about 12:30 p.m.
>
> Deanna Lague , a chaperone whose daughter attended the field trip, returned to the bus 15 minutes later to find a Band-Aid for a student who had cut her finger, she said. She noticed Nathan's teacher standing outside and talking on a cell phone.
>
> Tyler said that around 1 p.m. he received a phone call from Smith, who said Nathan was having an asthma attack and was screaming for his nebulizer.
>
> Although chaperones were told that Nathan had a peanut allergy and had just eaten the cookie, Tyler said this was never mentioned to him.
>
> According to district officials last May, the nurse-chaperone helped describe Nathan's condition
> to Tyler.
>
> Because Nathan suffered frequent asthma attacks and was at a farm that day, Tyler told Smith to use the inhaler and to try to calm the boy.
>
> Lague entered the bus and found the nurse-chaperone with Nathan. She said Nathan looked very sick.
>
> Lague said she expressed her concern to the nurse, who told her the boy was OK.
>
> There is no evidence that the teacher, Ladd Smith, called 911, but Tyler said Smith called him three times at home that afternoon
>
> "I should've called 911," Lague said, "but I had assumed the teacher already did that."
>
> Tyler said Nathan's teacher, called again at 1:25 or 1:30 p.m., telling him that Nathan was getting worse, but that one of the chaperones was a nurse. Tyler said he asked Smith to have someone bring Nathan home as soon as possible, and mentioned that Nathan had a scheduled doctor's appointment that afternoon.
>
> Fifteen minutes later, Tyler said, he got another call from Smith, telling him that Nathan was doing better. He also said that a volunteer was about to drive the boy back.
>
> Park said Smith approached her after the tour -- while the kids were eating ice cream -- and asked if she could take a little boy home.
>
> "He told me, `He's just not feeling well enough to ride the bus,"' Park recalled.
>
> When she headed toward the bus, she made eye contact with Lague and saw panic in her face, said Park, who rushed to get her car. Lague said she was shocked to see Nathan still there after she returned from the tour.
>
> Nathan had been on the bus for 11/2 hours. He could hardly walk when he got off the bus, Lague said.
>
> The teacher and the nurse put Nathan in the back seat of Park's black Kia. The nurse sat in the back with Nathan while Park drove.
>
> Park didn't really know how sick Nathan was, she said, until she looked in her rearview mirror and saw Nathan's pale face and swollen lips. He was struggling to breathe, trying to use his inhaler.
>
> When the nurse told her he was allergic to peanuts and had eaten the cookie, Park headed for Holy Family Hospital, she said.
>
> Park broke into tears as she recalled the image of Nathan as she drove him to the hospital -his ashen face, swollen lips, his entire body gasping for air.
>
> Neither woman had a cell phone, but Park remembered the fire station in Mead and decided to stop for help.
>
> During the five- or 10-minute drive to the station, Park recalled the nurse asking her if she should use the Epipen, a device that injects a hormone that counters anaphylactic shock. But Park didn't even know what an Epipen was, she said. Nathan also was screaming that he didn't want the shot, she said.
>
> Emergency medical personnel were out when the chaperones and Nathan arrived at Fire Station 92 shortly before 2:20 p.m., fire officials said last May.
>
> A maintenance worker, who's also a volunteer firefighter, was the only one at the station and he
> immediately radioed for help.
>
> Park, who found the man, returned to the car and saw the nurse giving Nathan the Epipen shot. As the nurse and the volunteer fireman administered CPR to Nathan, she held his hand. She also contacted Logan Elementary to tell them to call Nathan's parents, she said.
>
> The boy didn't have a pulse and wasn't breathing when the fireman gave him CPR, fire officials said last May. Nathan began breathing but slipped back into respiratory arrest. Continued CPR revived him when the paramedic unit arrived, fire officials said.
>
> The ambulance left for Holy Family by 2:31 p.m. Nathan got there at 2:41 p.m., fire officials said. He was pronounced dead one hour and 19 minutes later.
>
> At about the time Nathan and the chaperones arrived at the fire station, Tyler said he got another call, this time from someone in the Logan Elementary office. The woman told Tyler that Nathan was being taken by ambulance to the hospital, and that he and Rick Walters', Nathan's father, should go there right away.
>
> Park went to the hospital that afternoon and heard about Nathan's death from a chaplain. When she returned home, her son asked her how Nathan was. She took him in her arms, held him tight and cried.
>
> The parents of the 9-year-old boy who died of an allergic reaction while on a field trip last May received just under $1 million to settle their claims against Spokane School District 81.
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[url="http://www.seattlefoodallergy.org"]www.seattlefoodallergy.org[/url]

Posted on: Wed, 01/07/2004 - 9:42am
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JanaR
Thank you for typing this.
[b]"NO MORE CHILDREN LOST TO FOOD ALLERGIES"[/b]
Nathan Walters you are not forgotten.

Posted on: Thu, 03/11/2004 - 11:27am
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raising

Posted on: Thu, 03/11/2004 - 11:53am
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It just tears my heart apart every time I think about Nathan's story. I never had read the details like this before and am surprised at the assumptions and lack of follow through. Mr Walter seems to be making strides for all PA children.
Let us never forget!

Posted on: Fri, 03/26/2004 - 12:32pm
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I came across this article and felt compelled to post it although it is so difficult to read [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
Spokesman Review. Spokane, Wash.: Apr 14, 2002. pg. A.1
[i]See related story under the headline: District 81 settled case for nearly $1 million; witnesses recount details of fatal field trip Virginia de Leon can be reached at (509) 459-5312 or by e-mail at [email]virginiad@spokesman.com[/email].
Nathan Walters' short life is documented in the upstairs hallway of a north Spokane home.
There's the framed photograph of him as a baby dressed in denim overalls. Another when he was 4, his blond hair in a Dutch-boy haircut. And the picture of Nathan with his stuffed, yellow Pikachu doll taken a few months before his death.
He was 9 years old.
Nathan's dad, Rick Walters, has learned to bear the quiet, the silence of a life without his son.
For Teresa Walters, Nathan's mom and Rick's ex-wife, her son's absence is sometimes too much to endure. She has moments when she can't look at pictures of him, nights when she can't sleep because he appears in her dreams.
Nathan died after a Logan Elementary School field trip nearly a year ago. Despite his known peanut allergy, the boy received a sack lunch full of peanut products. Autopsy results show he ate half a peanut butter cookie and died after his body went into shock.
Spokane School District 81 has never released details of what happened May 18, the day Nathan died.
Divorced when Nathan was 3, Rick and Teresa Walters remain good friends. They've sought comfort from each other as they coped with the loss in different ways.
Teresa said she's still in denial, trying to find her place in a world where she's no longer a mother.
Rick has found meaning in his son's death by working with the school district's new Food Allergy Task Force, which was established last fall to review the district's guidelines and training on food allergies.
In less than two weeks, he'll present the task force's recommendations to the school board - his labor of love for the last few months. "I've been working hard for this moment," he said. "It's time to let it go."
He has gone through denial, anger and bitterness, Rick said. But Nathan's death also gave him a cause: to protect other children with food allergies, to make sure what happened to Nathan won't hurt another child.
Allergies came early
Nathan Walters was born in Yakima on Valentine's Day - a 5- pound, 14-ounce baby delivered after less than four hours of labor.
He spent his first few months sleeping in a crib built by his grandfather. He was an easygoing baby, his parents recalled.
But Nathan's health problems surfaced early on: severe eczema, intolerance to milk, allergies to sweets and a long list of other foods.
"He couldn't even eat pizza sauce," said Teresa Walters, who is 32. "He was allergic to everything."
When he was 2 years old, his grandfather gave him a bite of a Reese's peanut butter cup and the toddler swelled up like a balloon. Rick gave him Benadryl and the swelling subsided.
Soon after, an allergy specialist identified a list of foods Nathan couldn't eat - everything from beef and lamb to cookies and Ritz crackers. Just touching raw eggs would cause his skin to flare and his body to swell. He was so allergic to mustard and garlic that his parents couldn't use the ingredients at home.
To make matters worse, Nathan also had asthma that was triggered whenever he ran around or got excited. He suffered asthma attacks as often as once or twice a week.
From the time he was a toddler until a few months before his death, Nathan's diet was so limited that he ate mostly potatoes, rice, chicken, string beans and bananas. He ate potatoes so often that his family called him "Tater Nater."
Instead of ice cream, he ate sorbet. To celebrate birthdays, the family had Rice Krispie treats.
It was only in the last four months of Nathan's life that he began to outgrow some allergies and could begin eating hot lunches at school. His diet became more diverse - grilled cheese sandwiches, fish sticks, even ice cream. Only peanuts and raw eggs were off- limits.
Teresa burst into tears the first time she saw her boy's face sticky with vanilla ice cream. "I kept thinking that we made it, we got through all those other allergies," she said. "We thought we could protect him and it was all going to be OK."
`A really good kid'
Nathan grew up living in two homes.
In Louisiana, where Teresa lived when her son was 8 years old, the boy and his mother played Nintendo, ate popcorn and giggled long after they turned off the lights for bedtime. When she moved to Denver, they hiked, went rock climbing, collected rocks.
In Spokane, he lived with his 33-year-old dad and Marc Tyler, who was like a stepfather to the boy.
"I miss him every day," said Tyler, Rick's partner for two years before the couple broke up after Nathan's death. "He was a really good kid."
Tyler was usually the one who helped Nathan shop for clothes at Value Village, who indulged his love of Pokemon. While Rick was at work in the morning, Tyler got Nathan ready for school and made sure his clothes matched. He drove him to doctor's appointments, cooked his favorite chicken nuggets and french fries and kept a spare inhaler for Nathan in his pocket in case of emergencies.
Nathan was shy with strangers, usually hiding behind his dad, hanging on to a pant leg when he was a little boy. But among friends and family, he was outspoken and precocious.
Relatives say Nathan was full of drama, exaggerating his emotions - whether it was his outrage at seeing roadkill on the streets, or his concern for the koalas in Australia who couldn't find eucalyptus to eat.
He loved bugs and other animals. He once filled his lunchbox with locusts and opened it for his mother during a car ride. The summer before his death, he and Tyler brought home Leonardo the snake.
After their divorce when Nathan was 3, Rick and Teresa kept a journal of the boy's life that they passed back and forth - along with Nathan.
When Rick's turn was up at the end of 2000, Nathan told his mom that he wanted to stay with his dad in Spokane.
When he was younger and people asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Nathan said: "I want to be a dad."
"I think that's indicative of how he felt about his own father," said Teresa, who visited Spokane regularly and called every week. "He was Daddy's boy."
Familiar with Epipen
Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction, with itchiness as its first sign. The symptoms range from tingling of the mouth and swelling of the throat to vomiting, wheezing, hives and diarrhea. Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.
Someone suffering from anaphylactic shock needs an immediate shot of the hormone epinephrine.
From the time Nathan started attending day care in Eugene, Ore., his teachers and others who cared for him had been familiar with an Epipen, a large injector loaded with the hormone.
When Nathan suffered a severe allergic reaction, they were instructed to punch the Epipen into his thigh, even through his pants in such an emergency.
Rick and Teresa always kept an Epipen handy, even when their friends accused them of being overprotective.
About 125 people die each year from food allergies, most of them from peanut allergy, the Centers for Peanut Allergy Awareness says. The potentially fatal reactions affect approximately 3 million peanut allergic Americans - roughly 1 percent of the population.
To inform his teachers about Nathan's allergy, his parents called and visited the schools to explain their son's health problems.
At Willamette Christian School in Eugene, Ore., where Nathan attended kindergarten, staff kept his Epipen, asthma inhaler, Benadryl and other medication in the school office.
So did teachers at his other schools - in Kalispell, Mont., Monroe, La., and eventually Roosevelt Elementary, Bemiss Elementary and Logan Elementary, all in Spokane.
"I always trusted them," Teresa Walters said. "Once you talk to people and they see the Epipen, they clue in and take you seriously. I never felt worried about leaving him in day care or school."
`Fix the problem'
Two days after Nathan's funeral, Rick found himself home alone, overwhelmed by the silence.
It was 3 p.m. and the back door didn't slam. Nathan didn't come home to talk about school, to take out the garbage, to ask for help with math and spelling.
Rick sat on Nathan's bed and closed the door. He picked up "Moss Flower," a book he and Nathan never finished, and started reading out loud, as though Nathan were still there.
Rick said that moment gave him the resolve to do something in Nathan's name.
He started talking to his son, who became so alive to him that afternoon. He also spoke to his own dad, who died of a brain hemorrhage when Rick was 8 years old. The moment became so real, he said, that he could almost feel Nathan's hair as he stroked his head, his own father's hand on his shoulder.
"I knew Nathan was in a better spot," Rick said. "He's where he needs to be and my path was clear. ... My son's greatest gift was direction. Fix the problem, that's what I was supposed to do."
Rick quit his job at a Web design firm and got involved in District 81's Food Allergy Task Force by being its main adviser.
It has given him purpose, especially as he shares his expertise with parents, teachers and other people in Spokane and at school districts across the country.
He has moments when it's hard to get out of bed, when he experiences flashes of frustration as he grieves for his son.
But he also has received support from members of the task force, parents of children with allergies, people who were touched by Nathan's death.
Rick Walters may have found his cause, but for Teresa, the path hasn't been as clear.
She has moved twice since last May - from Salt Lake City to Denver to Portland. She has yet to unpack those boxes of Nathan's toys, to unleash all those memories.
When she calls Rick, she finds herself still asking about Nate.
She sleeps with Dobie and Buddy - Nathan's ratty old stuffed dogs - but it's only been in the past month that she could put photos of Nathan on her desk. On difficult days, those get put away, too.
Teresa doesn't talk about Nathan or what happened. When thoughts of him pop into her mind, she tries to shut them out. But she can't keep him out of her dreams.
She once dreamed that someone had taken Nathan and she couldn't find him no matter how hard she searched.
"I woke up and I was so scared that he was gone," she said. "And then I realized that he really was gone, that he's dead."
A workaholic all her life, Teresa found herself staying in bed, lacking the will or energy to get up.
"I don't feel a whole lot right now. What am I here for? When you lose a child, you try to figure out why you exist in the first place," she said.
Teresa traveled to Spokane over the last year to spend holidays with Rick. When she returned to Portland this month, she took Nathan's ashes - kept in a tin Pokemon box that had been on a table by Rick's bedside.
In the same way they took turns taking care of Nathan, they'll pass his ashes back and forth.
Her ex-husband is more forgiving than she is, Teresa admitted, but he has guided her as she searches her soul, as they both find a way to live with the "giant hole" created by Nathan's death.
"You have do to the best you can," Rick said. "It's just day by day, moment by moment, minute by minute, second by second. ... So many ups and downs. Just strap yourself in the roller coaster and ride the ride."
Throughout the Walters' grief, the two have found a common goal: to discover peace of mind.
Shortly after his death, teachers and staff at Logan Elementary sent home Nathan's art projects and other schoolwork. One of the last pieces he worked on was a drawing of a red-and-blue T-shirt.
On the shirt he scribbled a message, one that his parents have worked to embrace: "Peace not War. Do not fight. I come in Peace."
[Illustration]
2 Photos (1 color); Caption: 1. A picture stands next to the remains of Nathan Walters, which are kept in a Pokemon box near the bed of his father, Rick, in north Spokane. Nathan's mom, Teresa, and Rick are trying to cope after their son died last year from anaphylaxis. Photo by Brian Plonka/The Spokesman-Review 2. When people asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Nathan Walters would reply, "I want to be a dad." Photo courtesy of Walters family[/i]
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Jana
[url="http://www.seattlefoodallergy.org"]www.seattlefoodallergy.org[/url]

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