12-Year-Old Boy Dies from Suspected Anaphylaxis on Christmas Day


Asthma often forced Cason Hallwood, a 12-year-old boy from Winsford in Cheshire, England, to spend previous Christmases in the hospital. This year he felt well and able to spend Christmas home with his family.

Cason, who also had a tree nut allergy, spent a happy Christmas Day with his mom, three brothers, and grandparents. After opening gifts and enjoying a Christmas dinner, he went out to a local park to play with his friends.

A short time after arriving, Cason began experiencing breathing difficulties and called his mom, Louise, who rushed to the park. She immediately administered his epinephrine auto-injector while his grandmother called emergency services.

Unfortunately, the epinephrine proved insufficient and he was rushed to Leighton Hospital where he died a short time later.

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Though the cause of death is as yet unspecified, doctors believe Cason died of an anaphylactic reaction.

Samantha Decruz, a family friend, tells the story:

Cason had woken up and opened presents with his three brothers.

Everything had been perfect and they went over to Louise’s parents house for dinner.

After dinner Cason said he was going out to the park with his friends where he soon became unwell saying he couldn’t breathe.

His friends got in contact with his mum and Louise actually ran all the way there while his Nan followed behind on the phone to the ambulance.

He’s been in hospital millions of times with his asthma and been on nebulizers. As a parent myself I cannot comprehend the pain that Louise and her three other sons are feeling right now.

It’s something no parent should ever have to go through.

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Ms Decruz established a GoFundMe page to help the Hallwood family defray the cost of Cason’s funeral. She continues:

I lost my husband suddenly last year and Louise and her family were so good to me.

This is just my way of trying to help her in what must be such an impossible time. I thought if we could try and raise enough money so she doesn’t have the added stress of trying to pay for a funeral, it might help.

Louise has been so overwhelmed by it all. She can’t believe all the love and kindness shown to her by people.

To know that thousands of people have sat there and enjoyed their Christmas and my friend has lost her son is just heartbreaking.

I was awake all night on Christmas night, I just wanted to do something to help. From one parent to the next, from a mum to a mum, I just want her to know that we’re all behind her.

Louise said to me yesterday, ‘I could be a millionaire but no money in the world would bring him back’.

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You can find and contribute to the Hallwood family GoFundMe page by clicking here.

The entire allergic community has suffered a tragic loss with the passing of Cason. Our hearts and sincere condolences go out to the Hallwood family and we wish them much strength and solace in the days to come.

As we generally do in these cases, let’s recap what we can learn from this tragedy in the hope that we can prevent such instances in the future.

We’re not sure how long it took from the time Cason first noticed his symptoms to the time his mom arrived and administered his epinephrine, but we do know that the sooner epinephrine is administered when anaphylaxis is suspected, the better the outcome.

We’re also not sure whether a second epinephrine auto-injector was on-hand, but we know that sometimes a single dose of epinephrine is not enough to halt the progression of anaphylaxis. Everyone that has been prescribed epinephrine should take two auto-injectors along everywhere, every time they leave the house.

We encourage the parents of all children with food allergies that are mature enough to self-carry to train them to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and self-administer their epinephrine as soon as they experience symptoms, then call 911.

We also encourage parents to train their child’s friends and friends’ parents to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and take action when necessary.

Remember, seconds count when anaphylaxis strikes. The better your child’s circle is trained to recognize the symptoms and respond, the safer it is for your child to be out and about.

Epinephrine First, Period
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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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