15-year old girl is killed by peanut butter cookie—internet says she got what she deserved
By Robyn Charron, Special to JenniferMargulis.net
On the afternoon of July 12th, 2018 Kellie Travers-Stafford created a Facebook post that encapsulated every allergy parent’s worst nightmare. Her teenage daughter, Alexi, died of anaphylaxis after eating a cookie from a package she assumed was safe because it so closely resembled cookies she’d had before.
That single cookie took her child’s life in an hour and a half.
To drive her warning home, Alexi’s mom posted two photos of Chips Ahoy packaging side-by-side.
While the top of the package is labeled with the phrase “peanut butter” in one version and the Reese’s logo in a second version, Mrs. Travers-Stafford explained that the top-side peanut labels are covered up once the package flap is opened.
Everything else about the safe and deadly packages is nearly identical.
Alexi’s mother wrote that her daughter received epinephrine from two autoinjectors, but it was too late to save her life.
“I want to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn’t happen again,” she wrote.
To rephrase, Alexi’s mom wanted her story to serve as a warning to other allergy parents so that their own peanut allergy children aren’t killed.
The internet responds to this peanut allergy death
Within 48 hours the story had been shared 55,000 times across Facebook with over 14,000 comments on the original post, not all of them sympathetic.
People seem to think that stupidity linked with the peanut allergy is to blame for this child’s death, and many feel that weak genetics are being weeded out with such senseless tragedy.
“I guess these people want the cookie to rise up out of the damn package on its own, light up, spin around, and sound an alarm that says, PEANUT PEANUT,” wrote Cristina Mauro Hernandez.
“Survival of the fittest!” sang Nichole Curtiss.
Atemu LaValley chimed in with, “There’s a giant Reese’ logo. This is what’s known as ‘Darwinism.’”
“I’m sorry she passed,” consoled Nicole Gibson, “but she should have been taught to pay attention, not go by color.”
Candie Heathcock advised, “A f—- 15 year old who has a peanut allergy should be f—– reading the packaging. Y’all want sh— done for you. You aren’t babies who need bright colors to learn. READ DUMBA—- READ.”
Peanut allergy death not Nabisco’s fault?
On average, every twentieth comment on the mother’s post pointed out that her daughter’s death was not Nabisco’s fault, the child should have read the ingredients, or that the person commenting knows other allergic children who have the common sense not to have made this mistake. At worst, commenters had the audacity to let the parents know this was simply how nature takes its course.
In a series of tweets, he admitted that until that day, he didn’t know that the peanut allergy could kill someone, and thought the information would help save lives.
“Seriously, Look. Sorry you lost your teen but, and I know I’m going to be called an a—– but I’m just calling it how I see it, your kid was kind of an idiot,” said Jake Schmidt on the Cernovich post; 46 people liked the comment.
“Sad, but OK she was 15. Then I would call this natural selection,” said Rafeal Suarez.
“Well it says right there. Maybe your kid should read and look at things before eating them (that’s how you get poisoned),” wrote Chris Cyrus, followed by three emojis that are laughing so hard that tears are coming down their faces.
Many on Your Baby, Your Way’s own page—a gentle parenting page dedicated to educating mothers to make informed choices—were equally unsupportive.
“People will say I’m a b—- but shouldn’t she have read the ingredients? That was so careless on her end…” wrote Tanisha Jones.
For their part, Chips Ahoy has no regrets about the similarities in their packaging.
Overall, the consensus of the unsympathetic crowd is that given the hand they’ve been dealt, allergic children should know better and should be more adept at navigating the world.
Why are peanut allergies now killing our kids?
Interestingly, almost no one asked why peanuts are now killing our children.
We are living in the middle of a peanut allergy epidemic, with 1 in 41 American children at risk of death from peanut exposure.
We don’t have all of the answers about how the peanut allergy epidemic began, but I’ll tell you one of the quickest ways to make an anaphylactic rat in a laboratory: injecting nut protein and aluminum under the skin. You tell me whose fault this is?
It’s not an exaggeration to say that hell hath no fury like the person whose snack has been inconvenienced by an allergy kid.
There is no disability in the world that is so socially acceptable to mock and disparage as food allergy. Peanut allergy children bear the brunt because of Americans’ love affair with peanut butter.
Peanut allergy kids are the wet blanket on the party.
They’re the reason homemade cookies aren’t allowed in class for birthdays.
The reason parents are forced to think beyond a peanut butter sandwich when sending their child’s lunch to school.
Hating on peanut allergy kids
To many Americans, peanut allergy kids are weak little Debbie Downers who would be killed off if it weren’t for EpiPens.
Perusing Twitter’s peanut allergy posts only for the last four days, I read:
Username samcrwll: “Imagine going through 9 months of pregnancy and hours of labor just for your child to have a peanut allergy.”
Username natalyolo: “My kid better not come out with some kind of peanut allergy sh—if that’s the case some sacrifices will be made and it’s not peanut better.”
Username dpugh99: “Allergies are an individual’s issue not the public’s. Smother the tw—in peanut butter and be done with it.”
Username yagirlerykah: “If our kid has a peanut allergy we’re giving it back.”
Username livsantarsiero: “I hope this isn’t offensive but have you ever just met someone that looked like they would have a peanut allergy?”
Username lDanngo: “If you are ever arguing with someone with a peanut allergy, just tell them ‘shut up before I throw a peanut at you.’”
Username AdisonBarnhart: “OMG nowadays you can’t pack PB&J for your kid’s school lunch because too many kids have peanut allergies. I. Would. Die.”
Username ruthiehodo_: “Natural selection is coming for those with peanut allergies.”
Username patsfandave32: “Why are people with peanut allergies ruining it for the rest of us?”
Our hearts are broken for Alexi’s family, and it is shocking to see such a large percentage of people on social media espousing ignorance for the whole world to read.
Have compassion for those with disabilities
My message to parents who have a problem accommodating these kids is to grow up.
Count your blessings that your parenting decisions haven’t resulted in a deadly allergy.
Teach your children to have compassion for those with disabilities.
Start by leading with your own example.
We’re talking about life and death over junk food.
Which one is more important?
And if you’re in the majority of people who empathize with parents of allergic kids, please speak up when you see attacks on these children.
Many of us don’t hesitate to say it’s uncool when people use the R-word or talk down about children with autism, but we laugh nervously when an adult is trashing a kid with a deadly allergy.
What is funny about anaphylactic shock, exactly?
About Robyn Charron: Prior to attending law school, Robyn Charron earned a bachelor of science in biology. She worked for two years in laboratories researching genetic disease. Her firstborn suffered a vaccine injury at two months old. After that, her conventional parenting went out the window. She embraced organic foods, supplements, essential oils, plant medicine, and healing. In her home town of Denver, Colorado, she advocates for parental rights to make medical decisions without government intervention.
Published: July 16, 2018
Last update: August 7, 2023