Updated February 8, 2012 – Megann Ayotte Lefort was only 6 years old when she suffered a fatal allergic and asthmatic reaction at her Montreal school. Now a grassroots association of allergy and asthma advocates has formed around a single and vital goal: the creation of Megann’s Law in Quebec.
Such a law would protect the estimated 72,000 Quebec schoolchildren with food allergies and the tens of thousands more with asthma. It would mandate measures such as province-wide emergency allergy and asthma training for school staff – teaching them to recognize the signs of an allergic or asthmatic reaction and how to administer a life-saving epinephrine auto-injector.
“The loss of any child is tragic,” says Marie-Josée Bettez, one of the leaders of the Coalition for Megann’s Law. “But Megann’s death was preventable – and that only magnifies the tragedy and proves the need for this law.”
The campaign for Megann’s Law is growing quickly. More than 2,500 individuals have now sent letters in support of such legislation to Line Beauchamp, Quebec’s vice premier and minister of education, and to Dr. Yves Bolduc, the minister of health and social services.
Support continues to grow as more people learn of Megann’s death and of yet another preventable allergy tragedy in January in Virginia (also involving a Grade One pupil, who also did not receive epinephrine). Meanwhile, the Coalition for Megann’s Law points to a study that found Quebec fared the worst in a five-province comparison of school readiness for allergy emergencies. Read it here .
“The time is now for this law,” says Diane Dubord, executive director of the Quebec Food Allergy Association (AQAA), and a member of the coalition. “Let us train the school staff today and keep allergic and asthmatic students safe, rather than wait for another school tragedy.”
About the Coalition for Megann’s Law
These organizations comprise the coalition: Quebec Food Allergy Association (AQAA), Asthme et Allergies Québec, Montreal Anaphylaxis Support Group, Allergic Living magazine, Ange Gardian Foods, Déjouer les allergies and the blog Les allergies alimentaires.
For further information:
Marie-Josée Bettez, President
Déjouer les allergies
Diane Dubord, Executive director
Association québécoise des allergies alimentaires
Andrea Shainblum, Leader
Montreal Anaphylaxis Support Group