Natalie Giorgi, who would have been a freshman this year, tragically passed away from an allergic reaction after eating a Rice Krispy treat containing a peanut frosting at Camp Sacramento in July of 2013.
Now other teens may survive an allergic reaction because of Natalie’s story. A bill sponsored in her memory requires schools to use Epinephrine injectors, or EpiPens.
Selena Srabian, a registered nurse, shared with me that she would describe Epinephrine as a medicine that opens the patients airways and is “the bridge” to keep patients alive before further help arrives.
According to the Stanford Allergy Center, 17 million Americans have food allergies and one in every 13 children has an allergy. There are students all across the U.S. and in our community with allergies who have every right to have a medicine available that could save them at school, and have teachers who know the steps to administer Epinephrine.
Senator Huff, who was a part in making the bill a reality, said in a statement,“SB 1266 will help save lives by ensuring emergency medication is available at schools, especially helping students who don’t know they have an allergy. I’m thankful to the numerous medical professionals, nurses and parents who testified on our behalf. This was truly a team effort.”
These reasons and more is why Senate Bill 1266 has passed, thanks to the help of Senator Bob Huff and the Giorgi family.
But, the EpiPen bill is not the only step the Giorgi family is taking. In her memory and with hopes of supporting other children like Natalie, her family created the Natalie Marie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to educate people on emergency responses to an allergic reaction.
The thing I remember most about Natalie was her wish to help other people. In everything that she did, it was done with the most kindness and joy in her heart. She even told me she wanted to be a Neonatologist, to help pre-mature babies, just like she was.
“Natalie Giorgi was a bubbly young girl who never failed to brighten someone’s day,” said freshman, Carolyn Lidster, “Natalie left a positive mark on this world, she made people feel good about themselves.”
“She saw the bright side of everything,” said Hannah Campbell.
“She really was the sunshine girl, because more often than not was smiling and laughing and radiating happiness,” said Grace Manley.
Natalie would have been overjoyed to know that her story was impacting so many people and that because of her, life would be safer for other children and adults who struggled with allergies too.
Another way of support that is happening for allergy awareness is FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education.) It is an organization dedicated to finding a cure for allergies and works hard to support people who do have allergies by bringing awareness and programs that offer help to families that are affected.
Rio students participated in supporting allergy awareness by coming out to walk and by making donations.
“The FARE walk was really unique, especially in seeing all of the people and families there supporting the cause. Raising awareness was definitely the goal of the organization and I believe that it was an eye-opening experience and it felt good to support this mission. I would definitely do this again!,” said freshman, Natalie Hemond.
With the help of the many people that came out to Southside Park on September 7th to support the education and research of allergies, FARE raised over twenty-one thousand dollars.
Dr. Travis Miller, a Sacramento allergist and supporter of the bill told participants of the FARE walk, “Believe in the power of hope.”
There is hope to finding cures and make life safer for all people affected by allergies. With bill that mandates Epinephrine and support groups like FARE and the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation, those hopes and dreams may become a reality.
For more information or if you wish to donate to Natalie’s foundation, you may visit nateam.org.
Side bar: Signs you or someone you know is having an allergic reaction
1. Hives/Itchy skin
2. Food tastes odd or different
3. Stomach aches
5. Difficult time breathing