Allison Rose Suhy was a vibrant and energetic little girl. Her parents could not have predicted how much their daughter would change their lives in the years to come.
“As a toddler, Allison came into contact with a product containing nuts and developed a rash,” says her father, Michael Suhy.
She was subsequently diagnosed with a nut allergy.
However, Allison’s nut allergy did not define her or deter her. Her family worked diligently to make her allergy common knowledge, thereby protecting her from exposure while growing up in Independence.
Like any parents who have young children with life-threatening allergies, Suhy and Allison’s stepmother, Rebecca, built a safe environment in which they would “ask a lot of questions, and teach your children how and what to ask.”
“For example, at birthday parties we’d ask to see the label of the cake (if store bought); we notified friends, neighbors, teachers and coaches,” Suhy says. “Her primary school had a nut-free table for lunch time.”
Suhy says that when Allison was about to transition to college, it was “a part of our everyday lives; we felt she was equipped with the knowledge she needed to manage it once she went away to college.”
However, following a memorable Dad’s Weekend at Ohio University in 2017, Allison’s father said goodbye to her with happy memories of his 18-year-old daughter flourishing in college. Just a few hours later, he received a call informing him that Allison had gone into anaphylactic shock after eating something containing nuts.
“She immediately had to be airlifted to a larger hospital where, after days, the lack of oxygen she endured during anaphylaxis took her life,” Suhy says.
The Suhy family turned their grief into action. They want to help teens like Allison who have life-threatening allergies to transition away from home.
“We learned because of what happened there is a strong need for education as kids leave the comfort of their home and high school,” Suhy says.
The newly created Allison Rose Foundation plans to develop educational platforms and curriculum for high school seniors and college students fostering baseline knowledge about severe food allergies. Moreover, potentially life-saving information on understanding food allergy severity, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, and what to do in case of an emergency will be shared.
“This education is just as critical for those without food allergies as for those with food allergies,” says Suhy.
The Allison Rose Foundation aims to change the lives of food allergy families through education, awareness, research and advocacy. Additionally, the foundation will award a college scholarship to an Independence High School senior with the hope that this program will expand to additional high schools in the region and beyond.
The ultimate goal of the Allison Rose Foundation is to eliminate deaths due to food allergies and find a cure. Allison’s life will be remembered and her spirit honored through the foundation’s good works now and in the future. Suhy says, “Immediately following Allison’s passing, my wife and I wanted to ensure Allison’s life be honored and her legacy inspirational. We also want to make sure that no one ever has to go through what my family and I went through.”
Learn more at allisonrosefoundation.org