A powerful new film has been released today (Friday 31 March 2023) to help raise awareness of the devastating impact of anaphylaxis. The film – developed by Beat Anaphylaxis and the North East and North Cumbria Child Health and Wellbeing Network, features Delyth and Graham Raffell who speak movingly about their daughter Ellen’s tragic death from anaphylaxis in 2019.
Ellen, who also had asthma, was just 16 years old when she died after she suffered an allergic reaction to snacks she had eaten – unaware she was allergic to one of the ingredients.
Although Ellen had allergies, she and her parents were always vigilant about watching out for foods that had caused issues in the past. However, when Ellen suddenly became unwell, they initially thought it was her asthma, but it rapidly became clear that something was very wrong.
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening condition which carries a high morbidity and mortality, with around 20 deaths from this condition reported in the UK each year. Delyth and Graham are determined to raise awareness about the condition, so other families don’t go through what they have: “It’s incredibly important and you don’t know just how important it is until you lose a child and I don’t want another person to go through what I go through every single day.” Explains Delyth.
The film has been released by Beat Anaphylaxis, an initiative created for the North East and North Cumbria that aims to improve the lives of children and young people suffering with or at risk of this serious condition. Production of the film was made possible through funding provided by the North East and North Cumbria Child Health and Wellbeing Network, which has supported the development of Beat Anaphylaxis.
The film will be hosted on www.BeatAnaphylaxis.co.uk, which is a website that contains a wide range of resources and support links designed, not only for patients and their families, but also professionals in teaching and healthcare.
It is this kind of quality resource and awareness that Delyth and Graham want to encourage people to access. Delyth says: “I’ll miss my child until the day I die and until the day I die I’ll raise awareness and help other people in her name so that her life means something.”
“I’d encourage parents, carers, educational professionals, friends and family of people with asthma or allergies to go on and have a look at the information.”
The Beat Anaphylaxis project lead – Dr Andrew Bright explains: “The Raffell family have been devastated by the loss of Ellen to anaphylaxis. Their courage and strength in sharing their tragic story, will undoubtably raise awareness of anaphylaxis and hopefully enable the public and professionals involved in the care of children and young people to better recognise and manage this life-threatening condition”.
Speaking on behalf of the Child Health and Wellbeing Network, project delivery manager Louise Dauncey says: “It has been a privilege to be able to support the production of this important film which ensures that Ellen has a legacy that will help many other families recognise the signs of anaphylaxis. We are proud to launch the film today and to continue to support this vital work.”
The film can be viewed here and further information about Beat Anaphylaxis can be found via https://www.beatanaphylaxis.co.uk/