Elijah’s Law Headway in 2 States
After the death of their three year old son, Elijah-Alavi Silvera, Thomas Silvera and his wife Dina Hawthorne-Silvera successfully spearheaded the passage of “Elijah’s Law” in their home state of New York in 2019. The law “tells early education programs in New York they must follow state food allergy guidelines and protocols to prevent, recognize and respond quickly to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.” Now Thomas and Dina are expanding their efforts to bring “Elijah’s Law” nationwide.
Learn about their efforts in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
April 26, 2021
In March 2021, Allergic Living reported that Illinois had introduced an Elijah’s Law bill. On April 22, the Illinois House voted unanimously in favor of the bill. Officially called the Childhood Anaphylactic Policy Act (HB0102), this legislation would require the state health department, in consultation with the board of education, to establish anaphylaxis policies and procedures for school districts and daycare settings.
Representative Jonathan Carroll, the bill’s sponsor, says the bill would add daycare centers to existing school food allergy policies currently required in Illinois, and tighten anaphylaxis training across school levels. The bill has now headed to the state Senate for consideration.
Thomas Silvera and his wife Dina Hawthorne-Silvera are championing the expansion of Elijah’s Law, named for their son Elijah-Alavi Silvera. The first such law passed in their home state of New York in 2019. Elijah was only 3 years old when he was fed a grilled cheese sandwich at his preschool and tragically died of an anaphylactic reaction. The center had documentation on his food allergies and asthma.
On hearing of the Illinois vote, Silvera told Facebook followers: “I’m in tears now because I know this bill will help and protect so many young children. Now, let’s get those Senate votes in.”
And there is more promising news for parents of kids with food allergies in daycare. An Elijah’s Law bill (HB 1259) was recently introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature. As with the Illinois bill, this bill contains language to on prevention, emergency treatment and stresses requirements for staff anaphylaxis training. Representative Ryan Warner, whose own son has a life-threatening food allergy, is the sponsor of that bill.
Through their Elijah-Alavi Foundation, the Silveras are working with local food allergy advocates to expand Elijah’s Law into many more states.