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Planning for the Unthinkable

The parents of Oakley Debbs, an 11-year-old asthma and food allergy sufferer who tragically passed away after unintentionally consuming a nut product over Thanksgiving, are spreading an important message about preventing anaphylaxis deaths.

To those dealing with asthma and food allergies: You need a plan.

For their son, the nut allergy was an easily avoided trigger to the seemingly bigger issue, which was his asthma. He, like many of our children, ate at a nut-free table at school, was careful about reading labels before eating, and had learned to manage his allergy pretty well. The biggest threat to Oakley’s safety, in their experience, had been his asthma. What the family had not foreseen was the combination of an asthma attack and an allergy attack.

In an interview with Allergic Living, Oakley’s mother expresses regret that they had not known the best way to immediately treat their son’s nut allergy reaction. She wants others to have a well-informed, comprehensive plan for their children and for themselves, answering every foreseeable obstacle that may come their way.

We urge you to be proactive and start making your own Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan, a template for which you can download here.

To those not suffering from allergies and asthma: respect the plans that allergy and asthma sufferers abide by.  

Accommodating food allergies at schools, restaurants, and even in your own home should never be questioned. It is the highest form of hospitality – and humanity – to show your peers that you care about their wellbeing and their safety.

If you’re around a child or an adult with allergies often, ask if they have a plan. Familiarize yourself with the plan so that you know what foods and situations to avoid and how to help if help is ever needed. Put yourself in their shoes!

Join the movement!

Oakley Debbs’s parents are inspiring their community to be aware of and to fight against the threat of food allergies. They’ve started an organization in honor of Oakley’s signature red sneakers, the Red Sneakers for Oakley foundation, which celebrates the very full life that he lived, and invites others to share in growing awareness for the disease that ended his life much too soon.
We hope that Oakley’s story urges you to be proactive about your own allergy and asthma preparedness. Come in for a consultation, and we can give you the expert advice you need to be ready for anything. You just might find us wearing red sneakers!