A heartbroken mother has spoken out over the death of her 15-year-old daughter who died after an allergic reaction to a cookie she accidentally ate at a friend’s house.
Kellie Travers-Stafford, from Florida, US, took to Facebook after her daughter Alexi, who had a peanut allergy, died on June 25.
In a post she described the immeasurable pain her family was currently going through.
“Our hearts are broken and we are still in shock. Our whole lives we dedicated to keeping our child safe from one ingredient – peanuts,” she wrote.
Alexi had visited a friend’s house the day of her death where she was offered a cookie.
Normally cautious about foods she had never eaten before, she was fooled by the packaging of the Chips Ahoy! cookies, which was nearly identical to a packet her family had identified as peanut free.
“The top flap of the package was pulled back and the packaging was too similar to what we had previously deemed ‘safe’ to her,” Ms Travers-Stafford said.
Unknowing to Alexi, the cookie contained pieces of Reese’s peanut butter cups.
After eating the cookie, she immediately began to feel strange and rushed home.
“Her condition rapidly deteriorated. She went into Anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing and went unconscious,” her mother recalled.
Her frantic parents administrated two Epipens however they couldn’t save their daughter. Alexi died just an hour-and-a-half after she ate the cookie.
“I feel lost and angry because she knew her limits and was aware of familiar packaging, she knew what ‘safe’ was,” Ms Travers-Stafford said.
Her family now wants to use their harrowing ordeal as a reminder to those suffering from allergies about the devastating effects of letting their guard down.
“It’s important to us to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn’t happen again,” her mother said.
She warned of the subtle difference in packaging for “a fatal ingredient to many people”.
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Alexi has been described as a “kind, old soul” and was given a touching send off at her funeral on July 2 by her father Michael Stafford, her two older sisters and her younger brother.
Friends created a GoFundMe page for the family to help cover the costs of the funeral and any other arising expenses.
“They are an amazing family that, like many families with allergies, has focused on educating as much as possible on the importance of understanding allergies and the severity of them,” family friend Kenneth Drysdale told Allergic Living.
Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia also took to Facebook to warn others in the wake of Alexi’s death.
“Presuming something is fine to eat is not enough,” the charity said.
“Let this be a lesson for all of us. So many biscuits, snack food and other [packaged] foods have a variety of flavours and packaging can look very similar/almost the same.”