Good Samaritans Saved “Lucky” Runner Who was Unprepared for Sudden Anaphylaxis

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“There’s no chance I would have been able to make it”, said the runner.

There’s a reason to have your epinephrine on hand if you suffer from food allergies. Just ask David Poretti, a 47-year-old from Edmonton, who went out for a run and almost didn’t come back.

“I was so unlucky that day in the fact that I went without a phone and I didn’t really have an EpiPen,” said Poretti, although it turns out he may actually have been one of the luckiest men in the world.

Poretti, an avid runner, was just a few minutes into a run near his home when he started to feel the telltale signs of a serious reaction.

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Said Poretti:

I looked at my hands and my hands were just super red and swollen and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s weird.

But [I thought] maybe I was overexerting myself a bit, so I started walking a little bit and then I could feel that it was starting to get really itchy.

Then his lips began to swell and he started to worry.

Having planned a short run, Poretti ventured out without his wallet or phone. It’s not clear whether he had been prescribed epinephrine due to a preexisting allergy.

Feeling increasingly disoriented, he started walking to the trailhead where he saw two cyclists and jumped in the middle of the path to draw their attention.

“They stopped and I said, ‘Listen, I think I’m going into anaphylactic shock. Do you have a phone I can use?'”

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One cyclist lent Poretti his phone so he could call 911 and stayed by his side throughout the ordeal. The operator told Poretti to lay down on the ground while he waited for the ambulance to arrive.

“I felt really sick at that point, like my stomach was starting to turn into knots,” Poretti said.

A few minutes later, a woman walking by ran to her car to grab her epinephrine auto-injector. Epinephrine is the only treatment that can halt and reverse the progression of anaphylaxis.

Although he says his recollection is a bit fuzzy, Poretti continued with his account:

I could see her run off in the distance, but everything was really blurry on the sides and it was really starting to get dark in the middle.

The lady actually looked at me and said, ‘Do you want me to do this for you?’ I nodded and she grabbed it and jammed it in [my thigh], and probably within about a minute, I could feel it kind of course through.”

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His breathing improved shortly afterward and he was able to walk to the ambulance which arrived a few minutes later.

Poretti, who suffers from an allergy to macadamia nuts, isn’t sure what triggered the reaction, though he suspects some almonds he ate before his run may have been contaminated with macadamia trace known as cross-contact.

Poretti said he gets “one of these close scares” about once every ten years.

He is eager to identify the good samaritans that saved his life so he can thank them “because without both of them, there’s no chance I would have been able to make it.”

His wife Michelle was home cooking when she received a phone call from a paramedic informing her he was en route to the hospital.

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She said:

That’s not a phone call that you ever, ever want to get. You just don’t expect this.

We’re so thankful and we’ve no idea who these people are, which is just bonkers to think that they changed our lives without knowing.

Ms Poretti suffers from a severe allergy to bee venom, and insists she will no longer be leaving the house without her phone and her epinephrine auto-injector in hand. 

Hopefully, Mr Poretti follows suit.


We are happy tragedy was averted and Mr Poretti is alive and well following his ordeal. We are thankful for the good people along the trail that saved him from the unthinkable.

We remind our readers that if you have a food allergy, you must always take two epinephrine auto-injectors along everywhere, every time, even if you have never suffered a serious reaction or haven’t had one in years.

You never know when anaphylaxis may strike, but when it does, you don’t want to have to rely on the hope of a good samaritan coming by to save your life.


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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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