After Watching Epinephrine Save Brother’s Life, Teen Proposes Bill to Increase Access in Public Venues


Lucia Zaremba, a 15-year-old high school student from Brooklyn, saw how epinephrine saved her younger brother’s life and is on a mission to make the life-saving medication available to others.

“My brother and I, we’re best friends,” she told BK Reader. “We do everything together; we share pretty much everything, except for allergies.”

Lucia’s brother John is allergic to many foods, including peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, and legumes, and developed alpha-gal syndrome — an allergy to red meat — from a tick bite.

She said:

He went into an anaphylactic shock after eating a steak that my dad cooked the previous night.

So, for him, the question became, ‘If I can’t be safe eating a steak that my own dad cooks, what am I safe eating?’ 

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Lucia was traumatized after watching her brother’s first bout with anaphylaxis six years ago and now carries an epinephrine auto-injector everywhere she goes to protect him. But many can’t afford epinephrine, are lax about carrying it, or don’t realize they have a food allergy until their first reaction.

She came up with the idea to make stock epinephrine available in public venues, much like Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are today.

She reached out to her local legislator, NY State Senator Andrew Gounardes, to see how she could make epinephrine more accessible:

I want to establish a sense of safety for those who suffer from food allergies. I want them to feel safe and secure when being out in public, I want them to feel protected. I also want them to know that people care about their allergies and that it’s real, that they’re not alone, and that they don’t have to feel isolated in their experience.

— Lucia Zaremba

Gounardes agreed:

Families like Lucia’s shouldn’t have to live in fear every time they go out to dinner or an event. Anaphylaxis can be deadly, and when Lucia told me her family’s story, I knew we had to take action.

This January, the senator and NY Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced S1078A, a bill that would mandate epinephrine auto-injectors in large public venues across the state.

If passed, the legislation would require places of public assembly, including stadiums, gymnasiums, indoor and outdoor amphitheaters, concert halls, and theaters to have stock epinephrine on hand and mandate the training of staff in their use.

We at extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Lucia for her efforts to safeguard her brother and the food allergy community at large. It’s people like her that bring much-needed change to the world, and we appreciate her efforts.

We also wish Senator Gounardes and Assemblywoman Rosenthal success in their efforts to have the legislation enacted. We hope it spurs other states to do likewise.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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