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Local councilwoman's efforts on food allergy bill gains support

One Sunnyside family's experience with a life threatening food allergy has resulted in a new food allergy bill, currently in the Washington State House's Health Care and Wellness Committee.

Sunnyside City Councilwoman Theresa Hancock and her daughter, Cheyenne LaViolette, have urged local legislators to adopt a food allergy bill to manage the risk of allergy and anaphylaxis in schools. LaViolette's daughter is so allergic to peanuts that coming into contact with 1/600th of a peanut could send her into anaphylactic shock. She entered the school system in 2007 and that's when Hancock and her daughter grew concerned about school district policies.

Anaphylactic shock can cause vomiting and even close off a person's airway.

Hancock found legislation in New York that addresses a procedure and treatment plan appropriate for school staff should anaphylaxis occur. The bill Hancock has asked local legislators to support also calls for a training course to prevent anaphylactic shock, as well as how to respond to it, and appropriate guidelines for individualized emergency health care plans for children with food allergies.

Hancock was notified by Rep. Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside this past Monday that the legislation was introduced as House Bill 2632 and that Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside presented a companion bill in the Senate.

Newhouse's office told Hancock it hasn't yet been scheduled for a hearing, but it does appear to have bipartisan support.

Hancock is now hopeful that community members will contact legislators so that a hearing will take place before the committee.

"We need to energize our friends and relatives...to call or email their representatives to request the bill gets a hearing," said Hancock. What Hancock means by that is contacting friends and family members that live in the legislative districts of those serving on the health and wellness committee.

For a complete list of representatives serving on the committee, contact Hancock at 837-8550.

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