Sarah Ferguson becomes a patron of an allergy foundation, opens up about her uncle’s death

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Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, has taken on a new patronage. (Her other patronages include a children’s cancer foundation, a children in crisis charity and other charities with a focus on children and healthcare.) She is working with the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, which is supporting a new law in the UK to label all ingredients on packaged food. This law is in honor of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a 15-year-old girl who died from an allergic reaction after eating a packaged sandwich at Heathrow Airport that contained sesame seeds. It turns out that Fergie’s uncle passed away at just ten years old after he unknowingly ate a sandwich with crab in it. She explained that he died before she was before she was born and that she can’t imagine what her poor grandmother must have gone through.

Fergie, as the Duchess of York is affectionately known, recently became a patron of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, a charitable organization that campaigns for allergy research and safety, named in memory of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

Ednan-Laperouse was just 15-years-old when she died from an allergic reaction after unknowingly eating a sandwich with sesame seeds at a Pret a Manger in Heathrow Airport in 2016, according to ITV.

Her parents, Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, have since established the charity in their daughter’s name and have been working to instill “Natasha’s Law,” a bill that requires all food businesses in England and Northern Ireland to list every ingredient in their pre-packaged foods. It is expected to go into law by summer 2021.

While opening up to ITV about her decision to partner with the charity and support the legislation, Fergie, 59, revealed that she had a particularly close connection to the cause — her late uncle had also died from an allergic reaction to a sandwich.

“My uncle, age 10, died of a crab sandwich at Brancaster Beach and my father was never the same after that,” she explained to the local outlet. “And my grandmother never forgot John — he was called John.”

Because her uncle’s death occurred many years before she was born, Fergie said she did not think much of the tragedy and how much her grandmother emotionally endured until she started spending time with Natasha’s parents.

“It wasn’t until working with Nadim and Tanya and being with them that I suddenly realized, ‘Can you imagine what my grandmother went through?’” she shared with the outlet. “In those days, forget it.”

[From People]

My son gets hives sometimes and I’m terrified of something like this happening to him or to me now. I’ve mentioned that I developed an allergy to mammal meat after getting bit by a tick about three weeks ago. After having a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch I got itchy all over and had hives. About six hours later it felt like my throat was closing, I couldn’t breathe and had this awful sense of doom. (Alpha gal is one of the only known allergies with a delayed onset.) I knew what was happening as I had just covered a story with Ariana Grande describing how it felt to have an allergic reaction. Plus I’d heard of this meat allergy from tick bites. I didn’t go to the emergency room as it would have cost me around $1,000. So I went to the pharmacist and asked if there was anything I could take other than using my epipen, which I have for my son’s allergies. She told me to go to the ER but that I could take Zantac and more Benadryl. I did that and it worked. (I wrote her a note after thanking her.)

Anyway now I’m so scared of eating out! I will get packaged food from the store but only if the ingredients are listed. We already have a law like this in the US, passed in 2004, called the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). It specifies that eight major allergens be listed in packaging, which unfortunately don’t include meat, but are milk, egg, fish, crustacean shell fish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans. The good news is that this law has been passed in the UK and will go into effect in 2021. Good for Fergie for supporting it. It sounds like a nonpartisan issue that will only help people.

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