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June 28, 2017, West London: 13 year old Karanbir Cheema, severely allergic to dairy, went to school.

On that day, Karanbir faced a bully and had cheese forced onto him.

He immediately went to the school office for his medications. He was treated by staff while awaiting paramedics, but his medications couldn’t stop the damage in motion.

He died after 12 days of intensive care while his parents watched helplessly.

“We were in hospital I had to watch him die, no parent should have to go through that, Amarjeet Cheema, Karanbir's father, While he was in the hospital we were fully concentrated on his condition. Now we want answers. How could this have happened?”

Investigators (now escalated to homicide) are still trying to determine details.

What is Our Responsibility as a Collective?

That’s a big conversation for us as a society, starting with what bullies of all ages are learning about allergies at home and in the media. Perhaps schools should have supervision at all times to avoid all bullying, not just food hazings.

What You Can Do (for your kidsandyourself)

1.) Know if your child hasallergies, anaphylaxis reactions, autoimmune response, or genetic susceptibilities that could be ticking time bombs waiting to explode (like Celiac Disease).

Taking gluten as an example: there are big differences in how we test, treat, and maintain for wheat sensitivity vs autoimmune vs allergy vs Gluten Ataxia (potentially fatal).

Also know that anaphylactic reactions aren’t limited to peanuts and shellfish; that’s a common misunderstanding. Many common allergens can be fatal, including gluten and dairy.

2) Exhaust all testing.It can get expensive, but do it anyways. Can you think of anything more important, given over 65% of the developed world have food related issues and/or digestive issues? That number is growing every year.

3) Treatment. Have a plan A, B, and C.Get 2nd opinions on everything. Get 3, 10, or 25 opinions until your instinct tells you the doctor in front of you has given you 100% of their attention and not 5 crammed minutes between 60 patients in a day.

Autopsy results will tell, but imagine if Karan simply needed different medications. There was possibly no medication that could have saved him, but what if there was?

And what if there was also a powerful immune building protocol that could have strengthened his system to fight this off? “Seeming healthy” can be deceiving.

4) Maintain a strong immune system.Tons of clean water, organic fresh fruits and vegetables every day, a customized supplement plan including probiotics, regular exercise, lots of sleep, minimum stress. You may need to step back and re-evaluate your entire lifestyle. This very moment might be a good time to re-think life priorities. Is your health #1?

5) Get involved.Awareness and education are the only ways to increase intelligence collectively. Organize an event in your community. Quite often, experts in their field are simply too busy to set up events. But we’ll happily show up if we’re asked to give just the few hours it takes to speak instead of the weeks it takes to organize. School, church, workplace educational luncheon… everywhere, because this is affecting everyone.

Q:“But I’m not allergic to anything, why should I get involved?”

A: Because you are Karan’s co-human. You are his schoolteacher, or aunt, or neighbor, or co-worker… we’re all in this together. It’s a mainstream global problem that needs mainstream solutions.

This article is dedicated to Karanbir’s family.I know you’ll join me in sending condolences and strength. There’s a long road ahead of them trying to come to terms with the loss of their son in such a senseless way.

 Jaqui Karr, CGP, CSN, CVD, is a best-selling author, speaker, and corporate consultantJaqui Karr who specializes in educating about gluten, celiac disease, specialty diets, and health through nutrition. Her popular “NakedFood” brand has helped thousands include more power raw and healing greens in their diet. Ms. Karr is a certified gluten practitioner, certified sports nutritionist, and certified vegan/vegetarian educator to dietitians.

Note: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer, not necessarily those of the publisher. 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine Online, 7/31/2017