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updated: 4/5/2016 7:27 PM

Elmhurst girl's death inspires EpiPen proposal

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  • Elmhurst resident Shelly LeGere and state Sen. Chris Nybo speak at a Senate committee meeting Tuesday.

      Elmhurst resident Shelly LeGere and state Sen. Chris Nybo speak at a Senate committee meeting Tuesday.
    Mary Hansen | Staff Photographer

 
By Mary Hansen
mhansen@dailyherald.com

After her 13-year-old daughter, Annie, suffered an allergic reaction and died days later, Shelly LeGere wanted to ensure that didn't happen to anyone else. "Had epinephrine been available at the time that she was unable to breathe, circumstances may be different. On behalf of my little girl, Annie, I would never want anyone else to have to go through this kind of tragedy," LeGere, of Elmhurst, told a committee of state lawmakers on Tuesday.

She was advocating for a proposed law that would make epinephrine, a medication that treats allergic reactions, and training on how to use it available to police, school staff and other local government personnel.

People who know they have severe allergies often carry epinephrine auto-injectors, such as their best-known brand EpiPens. But having first-responders, teachers or others around who are trained to use EpiPens could save a person with no known allergies who is experiencing a reaction.

The proposal sets out what kind of training police and others need to be able to use an EpiPen on someone having a reaction. If approved, part of the plan would be known as the "Annie LeGere Law."

"We realized that there is exposure to allergens and anaphylaxis beyond the school setting," said state Sen. Chris Nybo, a Lombard Republican who sponsored the bill.

Nybo said the proposal expands on a 2011 law that changed the school code to allow school nurses and others who had received training to administer allergy medication.

It was approved by a Senate committee Tuesday, sending it forward for further debate.

State Rep. Michelle Mussman, a Schaumburg Democrat, is sponsoring similar legislation in the House. A House committee is scheduled to discuss the bill Wednesday.

In addition to LeGere's legislative advocacy, she founded the Annie LeGere Foundation to increase awareness of and education on allergies and provide epinephrine to agencies covered under the law.

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