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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
As promised, here is my letter to the Alberta Minister of Education. Sorry for the length. (Don't send it to him please - I haven't mailed it yet!! :lol: )

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Dear Mr. Zwozdesky:

We are writing this letter on behalf of two young boys -- Maxime and Xavier -- to request your support of an Alberta law similar to Ontario’s Sabrina’s Law.

Both of our sons are lively, intelligent, and fun. They also have multiple life-threatening food allergies.
· Maxime (7 years old) is anaphylactic to peanuts, nuts, and most legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc.). He is also allergic to eggs, chicken, some fish, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, and cucumber, and he has Oral Allergy Syndrome.
· Xavier (5 years old) is anaphylactic to peanuts, nuts, dairy products, and eggs. He is also asthmatic, which puts him at higher risk of having a severe anaphylactic reaction.

To look at them, you would not know that they have a potentially fatal condition. It is a hidden handicap. But if we do not surround them with responsible adults who (a) know how to help them avoid their allergens and (b) are able to respond promptly and correctly if they go into anaphylactic shock, we are putting their lives at risk.

Imagine
- sending a child with severe allergies off to school every day, knowing the school is ill-prepared to react in case of an emergency
- worrying each time the phone rings during the school day that it might be bad news about an allergic reaction
- being responsible for educating the entire school about your child’s condition and how to deal with it
- wondering if your child is aware just how unsafe their school environment really is

That is actually the reality for many parents of food allergic children across Canada. They are caught in a school system in which each school does things differently with regards to anaphylaxis. It is often the hard work and knowledge of the parents that keeps their food-allergic child safe. But not every parent has the resources and skills to do this very difficult and time-consuming job. Some parents don’t speak English (or French) as a first language. Some are very shy. Some just don’t have the knowledge about allergies. Does that mean their children should be at greater risk? No.

Anaphylaxis should be taken seriously in every school, and the necessary training and communication should be consistent from school to school. And we believe that it will take legislation to make this happen.

Why are we concerned about what other provinces do when we live in Quebec? We hope that one day Quebec will follow Ontario’s and hopefully Alberta’s lead and make all its schools safe for anaphylactic children. It would make a very great difference to our family’s quality of life.

Please help make this critical legislation a reality for anaphylactic students in Alberta. You will be making a world of difference to the lives of many children and teens and their families – now and in the future, both in Alberta and elsewhere.

Sincerely,
KE & CB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 11:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Great letter Karen. I think that the letters will work best if they are from the heart and tell an individual story of the importance of laws to protect anaphylactic kids.

Karin, just write your story, and why you think the laws will help. Don't worry about whether or not the letter is correct in its format. The most important part is putting a personal touch to your letters, and including personal information that shows people that there are real families with potentailly life threatening allergies who just want the best for their kids.

Karen, I thought I was the only one with a child allergic to chicken.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
What a great letter, Karen!! I have sent a letter, but I'm from BC, so I have my mom and all her friends writing too! Remember when they were going to make smarties and all the other Nestle chocolates not safe for kids with nut allergies anymore, and so many people wrote they changed their position. I sure hope it works for Alberta, too. I am still working on BC, but so far the government hasn't been that receptive.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:11 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Alberta
Wow! That's a great letter Karen! Thanks for sharing it. I doubt if I can create anything as good as that but I will give it a shot.

MomOfY - How is your letter coming along?

Karin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:40 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2947
Location: Toronto
Karen,

Great, powerful letter. And Karin, I agree with SaskMommyof2, it's the from-the-heart statements that will resonate. Don't worry about whether every bit of grammar is perfect (there's no marking :wink: )

You could borrow from Karen's idea of how great it would be if Alberta, like Ontario, became a leader in protecting children at risk of anaphylaxis in their schools. And also the idea that children shouldn't be left in peril if their parents aren't the world's best communicators. Give it a shot! /Gwen


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Yeah, I didn't post the letter to frighten people off - just to give ideas. I'm a professional writer/editor, so I get lots of practice writing!

As Gwen said, as long as it's from the heart, that's what matters. If you don't write, the Minister of Education won't know that you think it's important that some kind of legislation be put in place!

Karen


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:36 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2947
Location: Toronto
Just to let everyone know that Ana and Bryan received many e-mails through this site/thread.

If you haven't sent and e-mail yet to Alberta's Min. of Education (see address in posts above), or one of Ana's "angels" (also explained above), please do.

We need to keep the momentum going.

Thanks so much to everyone who has already e-mailed/lent support.

Gwen


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 Post subject: Letter to Minister
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:17 am
Posts: 3
Location: Alberta, Canada
I recently sent this to Karin, but feel free to use any ideas so that we can keep the momentum going and make a change in the school system.

Honorable Gene Zwozdesky
Minister of Education
228 Legislature Building, 10800-97 Avenue,
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6
Fax: 780 427-5018

Dear Honourable Zwozdesky:
Re: HOW MUCH DO YOU VALUE THE LIFE OF A CHILD?
The reason that I am writing this letter to appeal to you to introduce legislation similar to Sabrina’s Law in Alberta. I am a parent of an anaphylactic daughter and I would like to see this law created so that Edmonton Public Schools, where my daughter attends kindergarten, would have a consistent anaphylactic implementation plan to keep her safe at school. Every day that she attends school I am in fear of receiving a telephone call from the school. With such a plan, I would know that the school boards are doing all that they can to treat the “special needs” of my child.

I have done all that I can do as a parent with my school to ensure my daughter’s safety. This includes consultation with the school nurse, individually training teachers with an Epipen® trainer, and introducing my child to ALL staff (office, administration, custodial) so that there is a name to this child with allergies. In addition, I consult with my daughter’s teacher on a weekly basis regarding school functions involving food, upcoming parties, birthday celebrations, as all these present a potential risk to my daughter’s life.

It is my hope that such an anaphylactic plan would include a risk prevention strategy, regular training, a communication plan, and an individual plan for each anaphylactic student.

My child is one of close to 12,000 other school kids in Alberta who is anaphylactic. Currently, we do not have a law to protect them while they are in school.

I look forward to your response and your willingness to stand behind my child, and those who also have anaphylactic allergies.

Sincerely,
Tracey


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 Post subject: Alberta Angel Project
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:35 pm
Posts: 12
Hi All:

We just wanted to thank all of you for your support with the "Angel Project". We have been told that it is bombarding the Minister of Education's office - WAY TO GO! We encourage all of you to enlist all/any one who supports such a bill in Alberta to please send an "Angel" . Again THANK YOU Karen for being kind enough to put up our "Angel Project" on your website.

We continue to be hopeful that Alberta will be the next province to have "Sabrina's Law". If there are any other provinces who are also lobbying, please go ahead and use our "Angel".

Again, please help us keep the momentum going!!
Ana and Bryan Wigger


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Hi Ana -

I emailed you privately about this but it bounced back, so I'm not sure you ever got it.

I sent in a poster that was very similar to the one we used for Sabrina's Law in Ontario, asking the Alberta Minister of Education to please consider passing a similar law. It should have arrived before the Dec. 24 deadline.

If you (Ana) would like a copy of the poster, please email me at home and I will mail it to you. Because it has pictures of kids, some of the parents would rather it not be posted electronically (which I do understand).

The wording for the poster was this:
--------------------------------------------------------
THE BEST REASONS TO SUPPORT SABRINA'S LAW

[9 pictures of adorable kids, with info about their allergies/asthma]

These are just a few of the tens of thousands of Canadian children with allergies that can prove fatal in a matter of minutes. The OTTAWA ANAPHYLAXIS SUPPORT GROUP (OASG) wholeheartedly agrees that Alberta needs its own "Sabrina's Law" to protect anaphylactic students.

ISN’T IT OBVIOUS WHY?
--------------------------------------------------------

Hope it has an impact!!

:) Karen


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 2:00 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2947
Location: Toronto
Karen, That was great thinking. I'm sure it will have an impact - the faces of real children always do.

Ana, do you think it might be an idea to create an Alberta poster, with small Alberta faces?

Just a thought. Happy New Year all! :)


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 Post subject: @ the WIGGERS
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:37 pm
Posts: 3
Hello
I am writing form Medicine Hat. I am a mom to one allergic child (tree nuts), and aunt two others(peanuts and other legumes), nuts, milk, egg and shell fish. I would like to offer any support that I can, beyond writing the minister . Please contact me if I can help from the Southern end of the province.
Shauna


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:35 pm
Posts: 12
Hi Shauna WC:

Thanks for your support. I am happy to hear that you have written to the Minister of Education. May I suggest that you also write Premier Klein?

Before my husband and I began lobbying the Alberta Government for Sabrina's Law, I believed that "letter writing" didn't make any difference. Let me tell all of you....IT REALLY DOES!!!!! Every time a Government department receives a letter they must respond. Personally, we have written countless letters. Every response we receive is followed by another letter from us.

I appreciate your offer of help. You can help most importantly by creating awareness of the issue. Take every opportunity to create a dialogue regarding Anaphylaxis. It offers education to those who perhaps have the wrong information regarding severe life threatening allergies.

This is going to be a long process. Laws don't just happen overnight (unfortunately)! We continue to be committed to seeing this through and will only stop once Sabrina's Law is in Alberta.

Ana and Bryan Wigger


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 12:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:35 pm
Posts: 12
Hello All:

Lobbying efforts continue. In a recent discussion with the Minister of Education, he indicated that he is currently consulting with Alberta School Boards in order to determine what anaphylaxis measures are currently in place. He also indicated that he has not ruled out the development of a law in this same regard.

The Premier of Alberta, Ralph Klein, recently wrote us indicating that he believes "It is crucial that schools have emergency procedures in place for anaphylactic students…"

This encourages us, and we continue to aggressively lobby the Premier, the Minister of Education, and other provincial government politicians. We most recently met with an MLA (PC) who very much believes in the importance of a law that would protect anaphylactic students in Alberta schools and this politician is willing to champion our cause should other avenues not be successful.

We continue our efforts and remind all of you that a law will be a long process. BELIEVE and SUPPORT! Please continue your letter writing to the Minister of Education advocating for a law that protects anaphylactic students in Alberta.

We are currently working on another project. Once completed we will be in touch for your support.

Ana and Bryan Wigger


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