A Tragic Loss of Life to Peanut Butter


I don’t like to share frightening or tragic stories but in this case I wanted to comment on this sad story and share my thoughts.   My deepest condolences go out to this family. I grieve for their loss along with them.

13 year old girl dies after ingesting Peanut Butter treat.

I have copied an article below on the tragedy or you can visit the Sunshine Foundation website created in Natalie’s honour here: https://nateam.org/

The Story:

It was supposed to be the last day of a family vacation at a popular summer camp, but it ended in tragedy for one Sacramento-area family when a loved one had a fatal allergic reaction.  Relatives say 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi died from a severe allergic reaction to peanut butter while she was attending Camp Sacramento off Highway 50 in El Dorado County.

Now, the family says it really wants to get the message out about how dangerous and deadly food allergies can be.

Giorgi was very careful about what she ate and always made sure her food did not have nuts, according to family and friends.  But she had unknowingly eaten a Rice Krispies-type snack made with peanut butter.  On Friday night, the final night of camp, there was entertainment and refreshments. A dessert tray was put out in a dark area of the camp.

Giorgi reached for a treat and took a bite out of it. She knew something wasn’t right, spit it out and told her mother, who also tasted the treat.  They later realized it contained peanut butter.

Natalie felt fine for about 20 minutes, but then began vomiting, had trouble breathing and went into cardiac arrest.

3 epinephrine pens were used but they could not help save the girl, according to a family friend.

Giorgi was taken to the hospital by ambulance where she was pronounced dead.  Family and friends are coming to terms with Giorgi’s sudden death.

“She took every care. She knew the situation, that’s (connected to) the allergy she had. And they were really on it all the time,” said Pastor Michael Kiernan of Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Carmichael. 

A special vigil was held at the church for Giorgi Sunday evening.   Some say they’ll remember her smile and laughter. Others will remember how much she loved to draw and how much she loved her friends.  Her family said Giorgi wanted to become a neonatologist, to care for premature babies like her and her twin sister.

Meanwhile, family members extended their gratitude to the paramedics, firefighters and everyone who tried to help save Natalie.

They offered the following written statement:

“While our hearts are breaking over the tragic loss of our beautiful daughter Natalie, it is our hope that others can learn from this and realize that nut and food allergies are life threatening. Caution and care for those inflicted should always be supported and taken.”

An allergist said food allergies and nut allergies have tripled in the past decade. He says more people need to understand the dangers of food allergies and that they can sometimes be fatal.

By Suzanne Phan, sphan@news10.net

My Thoughts:

I am so saddened by this story of what happened to Natalie.  In the past I have been dismayed by parents in my community who have made comments such as “That mom needs to lighten up” or other such indications that they feel I am over-exaggerating the risks to my child. 

We try to live a normal life and not be afraid but when you read a story such as Natalie’s you can’t help being reminded that there is no margin for error – we must keep our daughter safe and avoid her allergens.  These allergies truly can be life-threatening.

The take-aways from this for me are:

  • NEVER eat food that you haven’t prepared and brought yourself (you know the old saying “Dance with the one who brought you” ?  Well I apply that to social situations when dealing with food allergies -only eat the stuff you brought!
  • Administer epinephrine IMMEDIATELY upon accidental ingestion of a known allergen -do not wait for symptoms.
  • Call 9-1-1 or head to hospital immediately after ingestion of a known allergen even if there are no symptoms of a reaction.  Nobody will be upset with you if there is a false alarm. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  • EDUCATE FOR EMPATHY -some of the comments that have been posted in response to this article on the original posting site show a lack of empathy.  It is very saddening to read comments which attack the parents or show a lack of empathy for this family.  Comments such as “Why should I deprive my grandchild of peanut butter when she loves it?” etc. are not necessary for this family to hear at this time.  Isn’t the answer clear?   I have always liked and appreciated the sentiments behind the saying: It takes a village to raise a child.  We need to continue to share these stories so that the non-allergic public understands how deadly food allergies can be. We need to help others to recognize the risks and to have empathy for food allergic individuals and the people that are trying to care for them.

When I met Sabrina Shannon’s mother and heard her story of losing her daughter to food allergies, I cried for two days. It is any allergy mom’s worst nightmare come true.  It is the unimaginable imagined.  Once again, I offer my deepest condolences to these families.  There are no words to convey my sympathies.

With love,


Origninal Post Date: July 29, 2013.
Last Update: May 7, 2017.


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