Updated: Dec 23, 2019
THE ANNIE LEGERE FOUNDATION IS SAVING LIVES The Halloween season is approaching and if your kids are like my kids, they are creating intricate strategies to collect as much candy as possible in one night. My friends who have children with food allergies tell me of the tedious job they have of sorting through piles and removing potential dangers. These ever- increasing food allergies are real, can be life threatening and can also pop-up unexpectedly. Take it from Shelly LeGere, whose thirteen-year-old daughter, Annie (pictured above to the right), had no known allergies and had a fatal anaphylactic reaction at a friend’s sleepover.
“When I found out that it was possible that Annie’s life could have been saved if the police officer (first responder) had been carrying an epinephrine auto injector, I knew I needed to do something to change that law,” says Shelly. She created The Annie LeGere Foundation (ALF) and her work began.
In November 2015, Shelly met with Illinois State Senator (and Elmhurst resident) Chris Nybo to discuss ways to pass a law to have police officers carry the auto-injectors. She went to Springfield several times with friends, family and ALF board members. In August 2016, The Annie LeGere Law was passed. The DuPage County Sheriff’s Office was the first to implement the law, but because of a missing liability clause, local municipalities were unable to follow. More trips to Springfield and the law was amended and signed July 2018 by Governor Bruce Rauner in Annie’s hometown of Elmhurst. The Elmhurst police officers became the first municipality to carry epinephrine auto injectors.
“I believed that putting this lifesaving medicine in the hands of our deputies giving them one more tool to help save a life was essential to bolstering our mission to serve and protect the citizens of DuPage County,” says Sheriff John Zaruba of the DuPage County Sherriff’s Office. All of their patrol deputies carry a medical backpack in their squads with a child EpiPen and an adult EpiPen.
Now ALF works tirelessly to spread awareness at school assemblies to provide needed information about allergies, food allergy bullying, and the signs and symptoms of anaphylactic shock. As well, they hold many fundraisers to continue to raise funds to aid with the cost of epinephrine auto injectors to municipalities and individuals in need. Their hope for the future is to pass The Annie LeGere Law nationwide.
For more information on how you can become involved or donate to The Annie LeGere Foundation, please visit them at www.amazingannie.org.
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ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.