It was July 26, at Camp Sacramento, when 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi bit into a Rice Krispie Treat at a dance – that snack was drizzled with some kind of peanut product. Natalie had been allergic to peanuts since age 3. She ran to her father, Louis, a doctor.
“She spit it out right away, came to us and we gave her some Benadryl and we watched her,” Louis Giorgi, Jr. told FOX40.
Her father and mother, Joanne, thought she was fine – and had possibly even outgrown her childhood allergy.
“She never had a serious reaction. We never used epinephrine, we had it all ready,” Louis said.
That’s when Natalie got sick.
“Immediately we used epinephrine and called 911 and used the epinephrine again because it didn’t seem to help. And we got into a third dose of the epinephrine and the paramedics came and we couldn’t stop it,” Louis recounted.
Despite doing everything right, Natalie died at Tahoe hospital.
She was known to her family as the “Sunshine Girl” – with a big smile and infectious laugh. Her death left a gaping hole in the hearts of her parents and three siblings.
“They’re all, it’s been terribly hard on them. They all miss her, talk about her, about how much she’d like certain things,” mom Joanne told FOX40.
Natalie loved drawing and science, like her dad, and being a gymnast. She had plans to be a neonatologist. Plans all permanently interrupted by a bite of peanut butter.
“She had a Christmas list, she had a birthday list and we don’t have that anymore. And we don’t want that to happen to another family,” Louis said.
In her honor, they’ve started the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation to advocate for children with potentially life threatening allergies.
“Parents and children with food allergies never chose this and we need to help protect our children and all those other children that are out there. It is just too prevalent. It is just too deadly for us not to pay attention,” Louis said.
For more information, go to the website at www.nateam.org. There will also be a fundraising walk at Southside Park on Sunday, September 15.