A short film based on one family’s experience with a nut allergy and anaphylactic shock has become available online. “Looking for Mary,” produced by the Anaphylaxis Campaign, tells the story of a family holiday turned near tragedy.
A common snack turned deadly
The father, John Schwab, is a professional actor and longtime member of the Anaphylaxis Campaign. “Looking for Mary,” gives an emotional account of Schwab’s son Jack, then three years old. He ate a snack he had eaten many times before without incident – cashews – but this time reacted dramatically by experiencing anaphylactic shock as a result of an unknown food allergy.
Anaphylaxis can be triggered by an extreme food allergy. It can cause a drop in blood pressure, swelling in the face, mouth, and throat causing difficulty breathing, collapse and sometimes death.
Miraculous Help From A Stranger
“My wife Tamsin screamed for help and luckily a local lady heard us, who had an adrenaline injector in her house. We administered it into Jack’s thigh. This undoubtedly saved Jack’s life. We drove fast to the hospital as by now Jack was shaking and in a bad way. My wife ran into the emergency room with jack, who by this stage had gone into a severe anaphylactic shock and was limp in her arms. The doctors and emergency staff rushed to help. It was terrifying as it was touch and go whether he would pull through. Thankfully he did and Jack is 12 now.”
Film Hopes To Increase Awareness
“John and Jack’s story is very moving and could easily have ended in tragedy. Unfortunately, however, it is the sort of story we hear on a weekly basis at the Anaphylaxis Campaign. Deaths from anaphylaxis do occur, in fact, there are on average 20 deaths every year,” according to Lynne Regent, Anaphylaxis Campaign CEO.
“I remember I started getting spots around my face, my mouth was itching. I was sick and struggled to breathe. The doctor told my dad that the team had done everything they could. My parents say I put in a big fight for my life. I am so grateful to them – and to Mary,” recalled Jack about his brush with death.