On November 3rd, 2017, Elijah-Alavi Silvera was given a grilled cheese sandwich by an employee at his pre-school, despite the school having documentation of his severe allergy to dairy products.
Elijah-Alavi later died and left a family in mourning, despair, yet hope. Hope that they can spread awareness and save other children who might end up in the same predicament. On what would have been Elijah’s 5th birthday, we caught up with Thomas Silvera, Elijah’s father, on life after and Elijah’s Echo.
The Elijah-Alavi Foundation and #elijahsecho is an initiative designed to raise awareness of the importance of severe food allergy/anaphylaxis, asthma w/allergies education and training. Schools are not currently mandated to call the emergency services if a child is in danger or running into shock, first they are required to call the parent or guardian of the child. Thomas states: ‘We need to educate, we need to advise that simple options like benadryl do not work, and that epi pens and 911 must be called before anything else happens. Had this protocol occurred with Elijah, he may still be alive.’
What’s flown under the radar since the incident, is how the family is coping. Thomas immediately set up the foundation, yet many thought he moved on too quickly and dealt with the death remarkably well. The truth? You never get over it, you learn to live with it.
Scrubs Magazine: ‘So Thomas, tell us how have you coped with the death?’
Thomas: ‘It’s interesting you ask that, as I posted something on Facebook the other day, just on how I’ve been coping. A few friends and even the public have thought that I was coping really well. The reality is that I shut down. I was in a mental prison and I put my head down and just went through life. I stopped eating well, eating junk food when I did eat, hiding every aspect of my depression.’
Serious Health Call
After a year of battling depression, Thomas decided to see a doctor. ‘He told me my health was in serious jeopardy. My blood pressure was through the roof, I was borderline diabetic and I was given a warning that if I didn’t change my ways, there would be another death in the family.’
‘My wife and second son are vegan, because of the allergies. I’m not, and so I changed to their diet. I knew that being healthy on the inside also required to take care of ones mind. And so I started to see a therapist, who’s been helping me work through everything. I realized that I no longer had control of the situation, all I could do was submit and let go. I didn’t let go of my child however, I let go of the anger. I stopped being angry at everything, and myself.’
Elijah’s Memory Lives On
Thomas and his family are in a good place mentally. They use the memory ofElijah-Alavi to fuel the movement behing Elijah’s Echo and have made good strides in the senate.
Soon after, Elijah-Alavi passed away. The Elijah-Alavi Foundation Inc nonprofit 501 (c) (3) was able to pass a Law called Elijah’s Law #A10031 in the Senate and the family are working harder to move this bill further. they have also aided in the amendment of the NYC Department of Health Codes by providing safety with educational training provide by Code Ana and with Kaléo pharmaceutical donating 7500 Auvi-Q (epinephrine auto-injectors, USP) to all NYC regulated daycare centers to protect our young children.
The Elijah-Alavi Foundation Inc. is one that is very close to many of our hearts, and the family are working very hard to honor Elijah’s memory. With every donation given, it will go to directly to the Elijah-Alavi Foundation, so we can utilize our mission/initiative by providing the training and education in these New York City Schools/Daycare centers etc at no cost to them. Come and stand with my family and I. We encourage you to share Elijah-Alavi story and video by using the hashtag #elijahsecho and promote food allergy/anaphylaxis and asthma awareness and safety.
You can donate at https://www.facebook.com/beelijahsecho/