“1 in every 13 kids in the US suffers from a food allergy”
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Inspired by the life of Oakley Debbs
During a family vacation in November 2016, Merrill and Robert Debbs tragically lost their 11-year-old son, Oakley, due to a fatal anaphylactic reaction resulting from a mild nut allergy.
Oakley suffered from both asthma and nut allergies. Oakley’s doctors always focused on the management process of controlling his chronically “severe” asthma. The Debbs’ received little medical advice regarding Oakley’s “mild” food allergies and anaphylactic shock.
Shortly after Oakley’s death, Merrill and Robert decided to publicly share Oakley’s story to help raise awareness about the dangers of food allergies. The Debbs’ immediately saw a need for awareness and founded the non-profit organization, Red Sneakers for Oakley, in memory of their son.
Oakley wore red sneakers in the multiple sports he played. The Debbs’ looked to Oakley’s favorite shoes as a powerful symbol to represent the severity of food allergies. Today they encourage people around the world to wear red sneakers in support of food allergy awareness.