A Family fighting for Allergy Awareness
To raise the awareness on food allergies, I would like to share my story. For those of you who don’t know, on Friday, November 3rd, 2017, my baby boy was given food that contained an allergen by an adult at his daycare despite them knowing he had severe food allergies to dairy. He went into anaphylactic shock and died. His name was Elijah and he was 3 years old. Every time I say “was” when I speak about him my heart breaks a little. I think about the world of potential before him. I think about his bright spirit that so many were robbed of experiencing. I think about his smile. I think about his best friend, brother, and my eldest son Sebi, and the life that they will no longer have together as a dynamic duo. And I think about how the moment where his life ended was also the moment that my life, quite literally, changed forever. For one, from that moment on, my wife Dina and I joined the most unfortunate group one can join, we joined the group of parents who lost children. And whether you’re religious, spiritual, or secular, I think we can all agree that a parent should never have to mourn the loss of their child. It just seems against nature. So we became those people and with that had to decide, what will this new identity this new life without our boy mean for us? I can tell you, the moments and days following the incident, I wasn’t sure I would make it. I remember when, Dina and I, was us sitting at home with our family around us, our eyes still puffy from crying nonstop and saying, “Never again.” When we first said those words, what came to my mind was every educator in every school knowing the severity of food allergies. I imagined that they’d known how to spot the signs of anaphylaxis and treat the symptoms. I imagined that Elijah’s life would not be forgotten and that he did not die in vain. Since then my wife and I started a foundation called, The Elijah-Alavi Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, which aims to encourage nation-wide diverse, social and equitable resources to make sure that all children in every school and beyond in every neighborhood regardless of socioeconomic conditions, culture, or class, are safe when their parents drop them off. Our foundation is an on the ground food allergy & asthma organization that provides Asthma Awareness, food allergy accredited training for any businesses and school professionals in the childcare setting. Elijah’s Law helps to promote awareness through education, training, and access to resources; The Foundation was created as Elijah’s Echo and in honor of his memory. My team and I are committed to protecting children through our advocacy aided by creating a historical piece of legislation in New York State called Elijah’s Law, by implementing proper education for school officials when working with individuals with allergies and plan to get Elijah’s Law at the national level. Contact your elected official to get Elijah’s law in your state. The Elijah-Alavi Foundation stands strongly on making sure that we ensure that the proper training and education is a vital source for preventing a tragic incident like what happened to my son, Elijah from happening again. We are working on getting accessiblilty for every Public School/Daycare to be stocked with epinephrine auto-injectors. Education: for every adult that works in any businesses, daycares/Schools to know the signs of anaphylaxis and asthma exacerbation and be able to treat children experiencing it.Equity: to make sure that all children in every school in every neighborhood regardless of socioeconomic conditions, culture, or class, are safe when their parents drop them off at school. More importantly, is getting legislators after legislators to enact Elijah’s law in their hometown. The mission of The Elijah-Alavi Foundation is one that is very close to many of our hearts, and we are working very hard to honor his memory and to protect and but guidance in place to keep out children safe while they’re at schools. Come and stand with my family and I. We encourage you to share Elijah’s story and promote food allergy awareness and safety. You can find and support us here at www.elijahalavifoundation.org or on Instagram at @elijahsecho.