We know her best as Claire Dunphy on the hit TV series Modern Family.
But in real life, Julie Bowen is one of us: an allergy mom with a son at risk of anaphylaxis. She found out the hard way – through an anaphylactic reaction – that her son, now 5 years old, has severe allergies to peanuts, walnuts and bee stings.
Recently, on the Anderson Live talk show with Anderson Cooper, Bowen described how her son at the age of 2 ate peanut butter for the second or third time and “and, conveniently, was stung by a bee seconds later and went into full anaphylaxis.”
Well aware that her son now spends his daytime hours at school, and in the care of teachers and other staff, Bowen is raising awareness through Mylan Specialty’s “Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis” campaign at www.Anaphylaxis101.com . (Mylan is the manufacturer of the EpiPen brand auto-injector.)
In a news release, Bowen said her child received “immediate medical care and recovered quickly, but it was a wake-up call that anaphylaxis can occur anywhere and at any time, even when you may not think your child is at risk.”
The campaign strives to get local school communities involved in allergy awareness. A key component is the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge . To take part in this essay contest, U.S. students in Grades 1 through 12 should submit an essay to suggest ways their own schools can improve allergy accommodations to support food (and sting) allergic students. The prize is impressive: a $2,000 college scholarship.
The submission rules are:
• for Grades 1-4 – 50-150 words;
• for Grades 5-8 – 150-250 words;
• and for Grades 9-12 – 400-500 words. The final day for submissions is November 9.
“Through the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge, students across the country will have the opportunity to educate their peers and help everyone be more aware of life-threatening allergies,” Bowen says.
The campaign site also offers helpful information about food and insect allergies and numerous resources  for schools and caregivers.
Essential Related Reading: Time to End Food Allergy Tragedies