Boy Dies From Anaphylaxis After Event at Prestigious Boys School


Editor’s Note: We incorrectly stated Leon Li was 11 years old when, in fact, he was an 11th-year student, meaning he would have been the US equivalent of a high school junior. We have corrected the error. Our apologies.

Shore, one of Australia’s most prestigious private schools, is mourning the death of one of their own.

Year 11 student Leon Li had just given a speech at a school-organized rowing event and attended an informal gathering at a popular restaurant in Sydney’s iconic Spit Bridge area.

A source told us he began showing signs of a reaction, so the family drove him home to retrieve his epinephrine auto-injector because he “only had a mild allergy.”

It is believed anaphylaxis took his life, but it is not clear what the boy was allergic to and what food may have triggered his reaction.

Said Dr Nina Markovic Khaze, Co-Founder of the Allergy Microbiome Foundation and a parent of children with life-threatening food allergies:

This could have been any of our children. As the country with one of the highest rates of food allergies globally, we can’t ignore this escalating danger any longer.

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Dr John Collier, headmaster of the school, broke the news to parents on Thursday:

Leon was not only a dedicated student but also a much-loved and respected member of our Shore community. 

Leon’s untimely passing occurred, to the best of our knowledge, as a result of an anaphylactic reaction to food on Wednesday night.

Leon’s involvement in various aspects of School life reflected his diverse interests and talents. He was a valued member of our rowing team and served as cox for the Third IV. Additionally, Leon was actively engaged in cadets, drama, golf and music, showcasing his multifaceted abilities and passions. 

The school is providing counseling for students in the wake of this tragedy.

A coroner’s report is expected.

Despite reporting on tragedies like the loss of Leon, we cannot fathom the pain the family must be enduring. We send them our sincere condolences and word that the food allergy community grieves with them.

As we do whenever we report on tragic circumstances like this, we look for lessons the community can draw upon to prevent similar calamities from befalling others.

Understand that there is no such thing as a “mild allergy,” as the severity of one reaction does not predict the severity of the next.

If you have been prescribed epinephrine, always take two auto-injectors along everywhere, every time and be sure to administer the first when you first suspect anaphylaxis. If symptoms do not subside after a few minutes, administer the second.

As recommendations have changed, discuss with your allergist whether you should call emergency services immediately after administering the first dose or wait to see if symptoms resolve. Regardless, EMS must be called if a second dose is administered.

If you have been diagnosed with a food allergy and have not been prescribed epinephrine, find another allergist.

ACAAI and AAAAI Release New Guidelines for the Treatment of Anaphylaxis
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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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