Mother Advocates for NYS Governor's Signature on Gio's Law

Gio's Law passes NYS legislature

It’s every allergy parent’s nightmare to lose a child due to anaphylaxis, but in memory of her son, Georgina Cornago Cipriano is determined to advocate for legislation to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family. “Gio’s Law” would authorize certain law enforcement officers and firefighters to possess and administer epinephrine. It was recently passed by the New York State legislature and is awaiting Gov. Cuomo’s signature. Read below about Georgina’s many efforts to encourage others to get educated and be proactive in creating an allergy treatment plan for their children.

Mother Advocates for NYS Governor's Signature on Gio's Law

Giovanni (left) and his mother Georgia Cipriano (right)
Giovanni (L) and his mother Georgia Cornago Cipriano (R)

By Kristen Stewart
July 15 th, 2019

Everything can change in an instant for anyone living with life threatening allergies. Georgina Cornago Cipriano knows this all too well — and is working hard to make sure other families don't have to experience the same heartbreak that hers has.

Her son Giovanni was a happy, healthy baby. Even as he grew and was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, eggs, cats, dogs, mold and hay fever he remained active in school, sports and activities. He had a few encounters with peanuts over the years that resulted in vomiting, hives, and a bit of a tingly or scratchy throat but his issues resolved after a dose of an antihistamine.

All of that changed on October 1, 2013 when Giovanni was 14. After eating a snack mix that had not been clearly labelled as containing peanuts in the disclaimers, he had an anaphylactic reaction. Doctors were able to re-start his heart but his brain had been without oxygen for three minutes. All measures were tried to save him over a span of three weeks but ultimately he passed away on October 18.

Despite their heartbreak, Giovanni's family has vowed to do everything they can to prevent others from going through a similar devastation with the loss of a loved one. They understand the importance of taking allergies seriously as well as the critical role epinephrine can play in saving lives.

“Some people think it’s not that big of a deal, that food allergy parents tend to overreact, and for the simple and lucky reason it hasn’t yet affected them,” said Georgina. “How many more lives need to be lost to prove it is a big deal?”

For an article for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACTS), Georgina described the primary goal for her advocacy efforts. “We want to help educate and advocate for all families living with food allergies. We want everyone to know that food allergies are serious.”

In addition to telling their story and encouraging others to get educated and be proactive in creating an allergy treatment plan, Georgina has worked to get important legislation passed that will increase the availability of epinephrine to all. Named for Giovanni and known as "Gio's Law," recent legislation passed by the New York State Senate and Assembly authorizes certain law enforcement officers and firefighters to possess and administer epinephrine. Currently it is awaiting the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

This piece of amended legislation applies to police officers and firefighters in cities or towns with less than 1 million inhabitants and does not include any financial mandates unfunded or otherwise. Prescriptions can be written by a health care practitioner or pharmacist for non-patient specific use so it would be available to anyone who needs it. Oversight and storage must be managed by an individual who has completed a training program and is designated by the entity responsible.

Finally, in order to administer an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) device, individuals must have undergone an anaphylaxis emergency training program from a nationally recognized organization or by an entity or individual approved by the New York State commissioner.

Georgina hopes that her family tragedy will encourage every parent with a child at risk for anaphylaxis to use an EAI device immediately. “Even if you are unsure if your child needs the epinephrine, don’t hesitate. Don’t let fear take over. It won’t harm your child if it turns out not to be needed, but it will harm your child if you don’t use it, and it was needed!”

If you would like to encourage Governor Cuomo to sign Gio's legislation (S03247B/A01024B) into law, contact him through one of the ways available at https://www.ny.gov/agencies/office-governor. It might just save a life!

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