Even in the days of Epipens, severe food allergies are no joke. And yet, many people who don’t know someone who suffers from a severe food allergy don’t take them seriously. Parents whose kids could die from being exposed to shellfish or peanuts have to fight a constant battle, advocating for life-saving special treatment for their children just so they can safely attend school and church.
But what happens when your kid with severe allergies grows up and becomes an adult? Parents have to trust that their kids will advocate for themselves, letting new friends, classmates, and co-workers know about their allergies. This tenuous transition from “allergy kid” to “allergy adult” is exactly what drives Canadian mom Micheline Ducre to tell her daughter Myriam’s story. You see, at age 20, Myriam Ducre-Lemay, who had a severe peanut allergy, didn’t tell others, and this omission ultimately led to her death.
In 2012, Myriam had recently met and begun dating a new guy. She even told her mother she was in love, Micheline Ducre told the French-Canadian newspaper Journal du Québec, but she did NOT tell the new boyfriend that she had a peanut allergy. One night when she was at his house, he gave her an innocent kiss. But unbeknownst to Myriam, he had recently eaten a peanut butter sandwich. Soon after the kiss, she began to go into anaphylactic shock. Her boyfriend called 911, but because Myriam did not carry an Epipen, by the time help arrived, it was already too late. She was quickly transported to the hospital, but could not be saved.
Now Myriam’s mom is going public with her story four years later to build allergy awareness and to encourage young adults and teens to make new acquaintances well aware of their allergies.
“This is why you have to carry your epipen, even though you don’t want to and even though it’s not cool,” said Dr. Christine McCusker, head of pediatric allergy and immunology at Montreal Children’s Hospital told CTV Montreal.
‘The most important part of managing your allergies is that you have to inform people. You have to say, “Listen guys, I have food allergies. I have my epipen. If there is a problem, help me,” McCusker said.
McCusker also said said traces of allergens can stay in a person’s saliva for up to four hours after eating, so if you’re in an intimate relationship with someone with a severe food allergy, you should use the utmost caution.
Micheline Ducre hopes that her daughter’s death will not be in vain, and that by telling her story, she can encourage teens and young adults with life-threatening allergies to advocate for themselves and carry their Epipens at all times—even if it makes them feel out of place. She knows her daughter’s lack of communication with her new boyfriend cost her her life—a life that was precious to her family and to God.
Do your kids have severe allergies? This is a great story to share on Facebook to help educate others of the dangers!