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Recently we were contacted by a mother whose son died from severe allergic shock after a classmate threw cheese at him.
She has called for the school and the child responsible to be held to account and we helped her share her story.
Karanbir Cheema, 13, known as Karan, died after he suffered a serious allergic reaction when a fellow pupil threw a small piece of cheddar cheese from his baguette during a school lunchtime.
Grieving Rina claims the schoolboy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a history of bad behaviour, including throwing food, and was arrested for manslaughter but released without charge.
We helped Rina share her story with the national press, on her terms. She was able to get her story out there and raise awareness about this important cause.
Rina, 53, is now raising awareness about the importance of teachers being extra vigilant and schools putting care plans in place for pupils with allergies.
Accountant Rina, from Greenford, Middlesex, said: “I do believe that this child knew what he was doing and should have faced the consequences of his actions. The school knew he had severe allergies and a catalogue of errors was made leading up to his death.
“But I’m not out for revenge- I want to make a change for the better. I’m desperate to change the system so that no other parent has to face what I’m now facing.
“My son should not have died that day. He was my only child, my world, I have been left with nothing.
“I was in a rush the morning that he died, I waved him off to school, I wish I’d stopped and taken the time to hug him properly and tell him that I love him. I never saw him conscious again.”
Gifted pupil Karan suffered a serious allergic reaction and went into anaphylactic shock at his school, William Perkin Church of England High School in Greenford, West London, after coming into contact with the diary product.
He was severely allergic to wheat, gluten, all dairy products, eggs and nuts, was asthmatic and suffered from atopic eczema.
Rina said: “There is nowhere near enough being done to combat the dangers of ill-equipped schools and ill-prepared teachers as far as allergies are concerned.
“He went straight to alert a teacher who unfortunately didn’t react in time. When the situation was finally being taken seriously, the epi-pen that they had was out of date and so may not have been effective.
“I was later informed that Karan was tearing his own clothes off in a desperate bid to cool down as the anaphylaxis set in as he felt like his skin was burning and he was on fire. The thought of him being so distressed in his final moments makes me feel sick.
“I wish I could’ve been there to help and I wish that the people who were present had helped sooner. It took them too long to call 999 and then when the first paramedic arrived he had not been informed that it was a case of anaphylaxis and therefore had not brought the right bag of medicines meaning he wasted precious time running back to the car.”
Upon arrival at North Wick Park Hospital in North West London, Rina was concerned that Karan had ingested an allergen due to the severity of his symptoms – but in fact it seems that it had just touched his neck.
She said: “His lips were huge and he was covered in hives but there was no trace of cheese anywhere in his system. When it turned out that the cheese had just touched him after being thrown at him, I was shocked.
“The child who threw the cheese also had a history of doing this kind of thing, he was known for this type of behaviour and yet he was let loose around my boy. The boy was arrested but released without charge, I understand he’s a child but in my opinion he knew exactly what he was doing that day.
“But I don’t want to lose focus and end up in a nasty place. I don’t want this to be about revenge, I want this to be about change for the better.”
“It’s too late for Karan now but it might not be for others.”
Karan, who died in Great Ormond Street after being transferred there, had been an extremely well-liked boy and has often been described as a generous and special person.
How we helped publicise Karan’s story
After being contacted by Rina through the Contact Form on this page, we helped Rina share Karan’s tragic story. We arranged for her story to be told as an exclusive in The Daily Mail’s Femail section. We then we arranged for her to appear on ITV’s This Morning: https://twitter.com/thismorning/status/1127908098897850369
Contacting the press through Talk to the Press
If you would like to sell a story to the press to make money for yourself or a charity, or to raise awareness, contact us today. There is no obligation, and our service will not cost you a penny.
You can read more about how to send a story to the papers on our Sell My Story page.