Families across Canada, with a loved one with the medical condition anaphylaxis, applaud the efforts of MP Dean Allison as he took our concerns to the floor of the House of Commons. Here is an excerpt from Mr. Allison’s speech that captures his motives in advancing the motion.
How can bringing forward such a motion and passing this motion help these and other families living with anaphylaxis? Perhaps my greatest goal with this motion is to increase awareness. Education tends to lead to more consideration from those who do not suffer toward those who do. I think about how it is now becoming common to be asked whether one has food allergies when being invited to weddings and other public events,and even smaller dinner parties with new friends. This would have seemed very strange 10 or 20 years ago, but as food allergy organizations have increasingly educated the public, we are seeing this type of consideration become more commonplace.
As the general public learns more about the grave dangers facing anaphylaxis sufferers, they can take and are taking more precautions in their daily lives, reducing that burden that, until recently, tended to lie solely with the affected person and their families.
Thoughtful Canadians are now asking about allergies before cooking meals for dinner guests. They are now packing lunches for their children that avoid some of the most common allergens. They are using more discretion in the snacks they choose to eat in public places where they might be sitting too close to someone with severe food allergies. This is very important in places like sports stadiums and classrooms but even more so on a plane or train where medical assistance may not be readily available should an anaphylactic attack occur. This type of consideration by non-allergy sufferers is becoming more commonplace and it is hoped that through greater awareness this level of thoughtfulness will only continue to increase.
To understand why this awareness and consideration is so highly sought by the anaphylaxis community, one must consider the fears that a parent of an affected child has on a daily basis. Let us imagine a father or mother who has seen first-hand their child having a life-threatening attack where, within minutes, their face and neck have swollen to become almost unrecognizable and the child struggles just to breathe.
Let us imagine that each day when the child goes to school the parent is left worrying whether that child will unknowingly come into contact with the trigger that could cause a similar reaction. It could be something as simple and innocent as another child sharing a snack that could cause a life or death situation. These very real and terrifying fears of a parent can never go away, but collective steps can be taken to help ease them considerably….
… more can be done, and going forward there are five key areas where stakeholders have asked the federal government to consider further action: One, initiating awareness campaigns; two, greater federal coordination on anaphylaxis matters; three, a long-term commitment to research; four, improved transportation safeguards; and five, improved allergen labelling.
You can read Mr. Allison’s speech in full and the anaphylaxis debate in the House of Commons here: