Oakley Debbs, 11 years old, spent Thanksgiving with his family in Maine. The West Palm Ocean side Florida understudy was likewise a star competitor, regardless of asthma and food sensitivities.
Oakley chose to eat a piece of cake from the assortment of baked goods that were included in the Thanksgiving basket that his family had ordered for the occasion.
A tragic turn occurred following, which prompted his friends and family to launch a campaign to raise awareness and prevent other people from experiencing similar events.
Despite having asthma and nut allergies, Oakley enjoyed tennis, football, and soccer. He also ran marathons. In his fight against these illnesses, his family described him as a “brave and strong warrior.”
On November 24, Oakley made the decision to savor a slice of brownie cake that had been left on his Maine home’s kitchen table. His mom, Merrill Debbs, said Oakley generally needed to actually look at names prior to eating anything, and he saw no indications of nuts.
Robert Debbs, his father, said, “He thought it was just a piece of cake.” However, after he had consumed it, he commented that it might have contained nuts. His mother tried some, and she agreed that it tasted like nuts, which later identified as walnuts.
Robert stated, “Merrill did what we usually do, she gave him Benadryl [pills].” And when he got back, he said he was fine. A single hive on his lip was his only sign at that point.”
However, Oakley began vomiting shortly after he complained of chest pains. He was blue when the ambulance arrived 10 minutes after his parents called 911. Oakley’s ether shut down and his heart quit pulsating.
After that, the family had to deal with such a devastating loss and comprehend why Oakley could not be saved.
Merrill stated, “My beautiful, wonderful, talented, and sweet son shouldn’t have died.”
The Red Sneaker family established the foundation to educate the public about anaphylaxis, an acute, multi-organ, life-threatening allergic reaction.
The family decided to use Oakley’s beloved red shoes as a powerful symbol to promote food allergy education and awareness.
Experts advise taking epinephrine right away, even if there are only mild symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Merrill stated, “The child of mine was a rock star and a good, good kid.” Also, I always knew that he would have an impact on his life; I just didn’t know that it would come after he died. So, the Oakley legacy is a big part of what keeps me going.”
Please share this story to raise awareness of the dangers posed by food allergies and the ways in which we can assist in preventing similar tragedies in the future.