A Massachusetts family, whose daughter died in 2013 after a food allergy reaction, is helping fund research at Harvard’s Wyss Institute. The research aims towards creating a wearable medical device that can detect the early signs of anaphylactic shock.
The device would unobtrusively measure various body signs, such as heart rate and temperature, to determine if a serious allergic reaction could be starting. It would then alert the wearer and (possibly) those around her of the potential danger. Ultimately, the researchers hope to build an all-in-one device that both detects the reaction and administers the epinephrine dose automatically.
It all began when Abbie died.
In 2013, a few weeks shy of her 16th birthday, Abbie Benford suffered a severe allergic reaction. She died soon after. Her parents created the KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation the next year and have raised enough funds to help the Wyss Institute with its research into a device that could have saved their daughter.
By the time Abbie and her parents realized what was happening to her, the epinephrine injection was too late to save her. They hope to prevent that from happening to others. Their foundation has donated $25,000 towards the device’s research and will donate another $50,000 early in 2016.