It’s a terrible reality that in this world, something as simple as food can kill you.
For some people, going out to eat is more like navigating a mine field than just enjoying care-free time out with friends.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a 15-year-old from southwest London, had been allergic to sesame seeds since she was a toddler, according to the Huffington Post. Her parents first discovered she had food allergies when she was a mere 6 months old and had a terrifying physical reaction to a bit of banana.
They learned to be very careful about the foods their daughter ingested, and at a young age Natasha developed personal vigilance in scouring labels and making sure nothing contained her allergens.
But you can only do so much if a label doesn’t list all the ingredients. On July 17, 2016, Natasha was getting ready to board a plane to Nice, France, with her dad and her best friend.
They stopped at Pret a Manger first to get a bite to eat. The artichoke, olive, and tapenade baguette that Natasha selected looked like they would be fine for her to eat based on the label, so the trio dug in and boarded their plane afterward.
While on the flight, Natasha began to have a reaction to sesame seeds or traces of sesame seeds in the bread that had not been listed on the label. She was traveling with EpiPens, but the two her father administered didn’t stop the reaction.
There was even a junior doctor on board, who — along with flight staff — performed CPR on Natasha for the entirety of the flight until they touched down. Unfortunately, she slipped into unconsciousness.
At the hospital, her father, Nadim, called her mother Tanya, trying to give her one last chance to speak to her daughter.
What would you say if you had seconds to speak to someone you loved before they passed from this world? Would you remind them of a better time? Say something you’d always meant to but never got around to? Reassure them that everything will be okay?
“You’ve got to say goodbye to her now,” Nadim told Tanya. “Don’t lose time. She’s going to die any minute. Say something. Do it right now. She might hear it. The phone is by her ear.”
“I said, ‘Tashi, I love you so much, darling. I’ll be with you soon. I’ll be with you,'” the distraught mother recalled in a new statement, according to the U.K. Daily Mail. “I fell to the ground. I couldn’t talk, I was engulfed with grief. I knew then she was gone — she was dead.”
“As a family now of three, my wife, son and I are still trying to adjust to life without our beloved girl,” Nadim said, according to BBC.
“Everything we say and do is a reminder that she isn’t with us — her empty bedroom, school uniform hanging in her wardrobe, her holiday bag packed for her holiday in Nice has never been unpacked. We can’t bear to.”
They’ve been fighting for their daughter’s memory by demanding clearer labeling on Pret a Manger’s products and pushing for stricter labeling laws. Leaving out ingredients isn’t just lazy, for some people it’s a matter of life and death.
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