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Peanut allergy kills Lawrenceville teen

Chocolate chip cookie sends 15-year-old into shock

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A 15-year-old Lawrenceville boy died after eating a cookie that unknowingly had traces of peanut inside.

Jharell Dillard, a junior at Central Gwinnett High School, was outside a Loganville Walmart on Wednesday evening when his aunt handed him a chocolate chip cookie, Pastor Neil Reid of Stone Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church said in a statement.

Dillard, usually "meticulously careful" with his peanut allergy, ate the cookie that had some sort of peanut-based ingredient. Within minutes, he entered anaphylactic shock and swelling in his throat restricted his ability to breathe.

He was rushed to Egleston Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before 7 p.m., Reid said.

Family spokesman Roland Pinder said Dillard dreamt of being an NBA player and planned to try out for Central Gwinnett's varsity basketball team this fall.

"If I had to pick whatever materials I needed to put together a person that exemplified Christian virtue, a good role model, but not someone that craved or demanded a spotlight, not once sought for himself but helped other people," Pinder said, "that's Jharell."

Parents Charles and Veronica Dillard, Reid said, donated Jharell's organs "to benefit individuals in need of a second chance at life."

Pinder was not sure how the fatal mistake was made, or if the 15-year-old, typically vigilant about monitoring labels, read the cookie's packaging. He said the family was considering having the snacks analyzed.

In the meantime, he said, the family is taking Jharell's death hard.

"One day at a time, and it's getting a little better for them," Pinder said. "Something like that is so unexpected. Two days ago this time they were together at a shopping mall."

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized, but service will be held at Stone Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church, Reid said.

Comments

BarneyFife 2 years, 8 months ago

It's too bad the young man didn't have an epipen, a self injectable filled with epinephrine. Anyone with peanut allergy or anyone with allergic reactions to bee stings should always carry these lifesaving pens with them. His parents should have known that. I feel sorry for the kid but this was a preventable accident. Don't blame the cookie company, blame the parents for not making sure this young man always carried an epipen.

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BusyMom 2 years, 8 months ago

Here's a question that I haven't seen the answer to: the AJC reported that he took an OTC medicine (probably Benadryl) but it didn't work. If he was at a Walmart, he could have gotten an Epipen from the pharmacy. Did the pharmacy not offer or know about the situation? He had access to an Epipen even though it wasn't his own, so I don't understand why that option wasn't used.

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x277 2 years, 8 months ago

Nice BarneyFife, blame the parents, they just lost their child for crying out load. The view must be great up there on your high horse.

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BarneyFife 2 years, 8 months ago

X277 if you read the article, the grieving parents spokesman, Mr. Pinder says he was not sure how the fatal mistake was made, or if the 15-year-old, typically vigilant about monitoring labels, read the cookie's packaging. He said the family was considering having the snacks analyzed. Looks like a lawsuit is on the way for the cookie co. The Parents knew their kid was allergic to peanuts. My cousin is allergic to bee stings and he takes his epipen with him wherever he goes. Responsibility lies with the family. Sorry to offend you but that's the brutal truth.

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