It’s scary to think your child could have an anaphylactic reaction to food when you’re with him or her. It’s even scarier to consider what might happen if they have an anaphylactic reaction at school. Will anyone be able to find and administer the epinephrine that can save your child’s life?
Last January, Amarria Johnson, a first-grader in Virginia, died from a peanut reaction at school. The school had told her mother she had to keep her EpiPen at home, so none were available at the school to save little Amarria’s life. This tragedy could have been easily prevented.
U.S. Senate bill 1884, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, is life-saving legislation that can help prevent more food allergy tragedies at school. This bill would encourage states to ensure that epinephrine is available in schools and that school personnel are trained to administer it in an emergency.
This is even more important for kids that may have a food allergy reaction for the first time – since allergies can develop at any time during an individual’s life, you may not know your child is allergic until they’re having a deadly reaction. In those cases, their life may depend on the school having its own epinephrine auto-injector available.
The state of Virginia has already enacted its own law consistent with S. 1884. But we don’t want other states to wait until they lose one of their own students before they recognize the importance of asking schools to stock their own epinephrine. That’s why the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has been working with several Senators to build support for S. 1884. So far, about 35 Senators, both Republican and Democrat, have signed on as co-sponsors of this important bill. And the following organizations have all joined FAAN in endorsing S. 1884:
- The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
- The American Academy of Emergency Medicine
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
- The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
- The National Association of Elementary School Principals
- The National Association of School Nurses
- The Utah Food Allergy Network (UFAN)
In Utah, UFAN is targeting Senator Hatch, who is not yet a co-sponsor. But he has two staff members responsible for recommending whether he should co-sponsor the legislation: Hayden Rhudy and Karen LaMontagne. After several of us called Hatch’s office this morning, his assistants have directed us to contact one of these two staff members directly so that they can see how important this legislation is to Utah children.
So take a quick minute and call one of these staff members. It’s easy:
- Call 202-224-5251 and ask for Hayden first. If she’s not available, ask for Karen.
- Just say you’re a Utah voter and that you’re calling to ask Senator Hatch to strongly support S. 1884, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine. That’s all you have to do!
- If you leave a voicemail, you can send a quick email follow-up, too:
When I called Hatch’s office earlier this morning, the assistant who answered said that Hatch isn’t necessarily opposed to it, but that he might prefer that it be a state law instead of a federal law, so he wondered if that’s why Hatch hasn’t signed on as a co-sponsor. But I reminded him that it’s not really an education issue but a health issue, and that I really hope Hatch doesn’t oppose it when it goes to a vote. I also reminded him that statistically Utah is up to 1 food allergic kid in every classroom. The assistant seemed understanding and supportive, and he suggested I also contact my Utah legislators.
If you can, call as soon as possible so that they receive a significant number of calls. A few UFAN members have already called this morning, and we’ve been told by Hatch’s assistants that the more calls they receive, the better it is for our cause – it lets the Senator see just how important his constituents believe this bill is. We’d love to have at least 50 calls, and 100 would be even better!
So take just a minute out of your busy schedule and make a fast phone call.
Then tonight when your spouse or a friend asks “What did you do today?” you can honestly answer:
“I helped save a child’s life.”