Abbie Benford was 15 in 2013 when she suffered an anaphylactic reaction masquerading as an asthma attack, delaying administration of epinephrine.
“Abbie’s first symptom that day was indigestion. You’re not going to give anybody an EpiPen to treat indigestion,” said Abbie’s Mother. “In a 6-minute window she went from difficulty breathing to a life-threatening situation,” explained Abbie’s father.
Abbie was removed from life support a few days later, just short of her 16th birthday.
A few weeks after their daughter’s death, the Benfords established The KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation, the proceeds from which fund an effort initiated by the Wyss Institute in Boston dubbed “Project Abbie”.
“Our motivation was to do something, do something that can save lives,” said Mr. Benford.
Here is Abbie’s story leading to the development of Project Abbie from WBZ-TV Boston:
The aim of Project Abbie is:
To develop a deep understanding of the processes heralding an oncoming anaphylactic episode at the earliest stages in order to develop a wearable device for both rapid detection of anaphylaxis onset and automated injection of epinephrine.
The device would sense changes in skin response, temperature, cardiac rhythms and certain biomarkers like histamine and automatically administer epinephrine if certain thresholds were met, and would come with an app that could allow for the administration of epinephrine to be initiated remotely.
See this video from the Wyss Institute detailing the progress being made toward the realization of the aims of Project Abbie:
For more information, visit the Project Abbie website by clicking here.
- ‘Project Abbie’ Device Aims To Revolutionize Anaphylaxis Treatment – WBZ-TV Boston
- An automated device for early detection and treatment of anaphylaxis – Wyss Institute