UPDATE: MacDonald allergy awareness society holds variety show

John Brannen
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It’s been eight years since Janice MacDonald placed that fateful 911 call.

“Karen and I were really good friends,” she said. “I made the call and was with her in Halifax until the very end.”

Karen Lynn MacDonald.

It was trace amounts of peanut oil and the resulting anaphylaxis that led to Karen Lynn MacDonald’s untimely passing on Sept. 3, 2005.

From that moment on Karen’s close friends and family decided that something had to be done so her story wouldn’t be forgotten.

This year marks the eighth anniversary since the first meeting of the Karen Lynn MacDonald Allergy Awareness Society, which aims to provide information about food and other life-threatening allergies as well as ensure that no one in Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties is without the life saving EpiPen simply because they cannot afford it.

The anniversary meeting of the society and variety concert will be held at the Lismore Community Centre today at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5.

Karen was a well-known musician and teacher from Lismore. A graduate of St. FX University and an accomplished musician, Karen gave giving freely of her time and talents whenever asked. 

Jenny Kell, chair of the society, noted the group has been working hard and raising awareness over the past few years.

“We work with all the schools and fire departments in the three counties to ensure a good supply of EpiPens,” she noted. “Especially in rural areas, the fire department is often the first on scene.

“Time is everything when it comes to anaphylaxis.”

The society also works to ensure that those families that can’t afford EpiPens are provided with one.

“It costs about $100 for an EpiPen. For those who can’t afford them, it might come down to less food on the table,” said Kell.

The variety concert in Lismore, which also acts as the AGM for the society, will see a number of acts, including Kenzieville Youth Choir, Ray Stewart, Floyd Rudolph and Friends, Inner Voice and Lois MacDonald.

This year’s guest speaker will be Christie Chisholm, whose son requires an EpiPen due to a peanut allergy.

‘The society is starting to get more well known but I don’t think that people know the importance and dangers of an allergy,” said Kell. “Some see it as an inconvenience because they’re limited in what they can pack for their kids’ lunch.”

In the end, such negligence can be life or death for a child or adult.

The group caught the eye of Anaphylaxis Canada, which was impressed with what the society has accomplished in northern Nova Scotia.

john.brannen@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

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