It’s Life and Death: Canadian Actress Speaks Out About Living with Severe Allergies
Lauren Collins Speaks to Students about the Vital Importance of Allergy
TORONTO, Sept. 30 /CNW/ – Canadian actress and Gemini award-nominee
Lauren Collins has tackled some tough topics playing her Degrassi: The Next
Generation character Paige Michalchuk, but her most challenging real-life role
is that of a young Canadian living with a severe, life-threatening allergy.
Collins will be visiting students in Toronto on September 30 to discuss how
important it is for kids with severe allergies to talk about their condition,
for others to be aware and sensitive to their friends with allergies, and for
children with anaphylaxis to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector.
At age four, Collins was diagnosed with her allergy after ingesting
peanut butter at her daycare. A few seconds after tasting it, Collins broke
out in hives and felt her throat closing. She was rushed to emergency where
doctors diagnosed her allergy. Since then, Collins carries an auto-injector
with her at all times and is very vigilant around foods.
The actress has teamed with King Pharmaceuticals Canada to share her
story and to encourage other young people to do the same – and to always carry
an epinephrine auto-injector. An injection of epinephrine is the recommended
first line of treatment for someone experiencing a severe reaction, which can
be fatal in minutes if left untreated.
“I know it can be tough living with a severe food allergy when you’re
young. I remember being chased around a classroom by a bully with a peanut
butter cookie when I was younger. It hurt at first, but as I got older I
realized that making others aware of my food allergies could save my life,”
said Collins. “As kids begin another school year, it’s really important for me
to get the word out that food allergies are nothing to be embarrassed about.”
“Now my EpiPen is my security blanket and I never leave my home without
it,” said Collins. “I’ve found that taking it everywhere made it easier to
remember. My EpiPen also serves as a constant reminder to read labels and ask
questions and be very vocal about my allergy wherever I am – at school, out
with my friend, or even on the set.”
Research shows that young people face increased challenges in dealing
with serious allergies due to a perceived stigma over the condition. Wanting
to fit in with their peers, teens say they often ignore the risks associated
with certain foods and are uncomfortable discussing the condition with their
friends. A recent survey by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network revealed
that 54 per cent of teens polled admitted to eating potentially unsafe food
despite possible life-threatening consequences.(1)
“Adolescence is a time when young people spend more time without parental
supervision,” said Mary Allen, Chief Executive Officer of the Allergy/Asthma
Information Association. “As preteens and teens explore their independence and
struggle to fit in, they may take some additional risks. This is why it is
vital to create a supportive environment where their peers know about their
severe allergies and how to help them in an emergency.”
About Lauren Collins
Canadian actor Lauren Collins began her career at the age of 11 in an ABC
movie of the week and is best known to international television audiences as
Paige Michalchuk on Degrassi: The Next Generation, the latest incarnation of
the highly successful Degrassi franchise now in its eighth season. She also
has a recurring role on the popular teen comedy Life With Derek which airs in
the US on Disney and on The Family Channel in Canada. Lauren made her feature
film debut in Newline Cinema’s Take the Lead which stars Antonio Banderas.
This year she co-starred with High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale in Picture
This, and was also seen in the MGM coming-of-age feature film Charlie
Bartlett, starring Robert Downey Jr. Lauren’s performance in the high school
drama, renegadepress.com garnered her a Gemini nomination.
Further information can be found at EpiPen.ca along with a Severe Allergy
Risk Test to determine your risk of anaphylaxis.
About King Pharmaceuticals
King, with offices in Mississauga, Ontario and headquartered in Bristol,
Tennessee, is a vertically integrated branded pharmaceutical company. King, an
S&P 500 Index company, seeks to capitalize on opportunities in the
pharmaceutical industry through the development, including through
in-licensing arrangements and acquisitions, of novel branded prescription
pharmaceutical products in attractive markets and the strategic acquisition of
Collins will be available for interviews on September 30. She will also
be available to speak with members of the media on October 1 on the set of
Degrassi: The Next Generation.
(1) Sampson, Munoz-Furlong, and Sicherer. Risk-taking and coping
strategies of adolescents and young adults with food allergy.
J Allergy Clin Immunol, Volume 117, Number 6, 1440:1445.
For further information: For directions, photos or to book an interview
with Lauren Collins on September 30 or October 1, please contact: Saskia
Brussaard, (416) 422-7176, Saskia.Brussaard@porternovelli.com; Caroline Nybo,
(416) 422-7187, Caroline.Nybo@porternovelli.com