A Victorian high school is coming together to remember a classmate who suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction after eating a slice of apple crumble.
Max McKenzie was 15 years old when he died in hospital in August 2021 more than a week after he mistakenly ate a slice of apple crumble containing nuts at a relative’s house.
Almost two years later, his friends and former classmates will host ‘Live to the Max Day’ at his former school, Camberwell Grammar, in Melbourne’s east.
Tommy Auwardt, Nathan Bosmans and Raphael Champion joined Ella, Ben, Tamara, and Lucy McKenzie to remember Max McKenzie at Camberwell Grammar. Picture: Wayne Taylor.
Max’s parents, Tamara and Ben, have nothing but praise for their son’s friends’ generosity.
“Max had an extremely close, large group of friends,” Ms McKenzie told The Herald Sun.
“To have them among the people who are uniting and helping this just means so much to us.”
Ms McKenzie said the family do not want what happened to make “to happen to anyone else’s child”.
Max McKenzie who passed away from an anaphylactic reaction when he was 15 in 2021. Parents Ben, Tamara, and sisters Ella and Lucy McKenzie at Camberwell Grammar. Picture by Wayne Taylor 23rd May 2023
The funds raised by Max’s classmates on ‘Live to the Max Day’ will be donated to the National Allergy Centre of Excellence, based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne.
It is all part of Youth Action for Allergy which Camberwell Grammar and eight other Melbourne schools are taking part in for this Food Allergy Week.
Brighton Grammar School will also be holding a fundraising ‘Jams for James’ day for one of their own, Year 12 student James Tsindos who died after a suspected anaphylactic reaction months before Max’s accident.
James Tsindos was 17-years-old when he died of a suspected anaphylactic reaction. Picture: Wayne Taylor.Professor Kirsten Perrett says allergy researchers are making progress.
NACE director Associate Professor Kirsten Perrett said Australia was the world’s “allergy capital”, with one-in-ten toddlers clinically diagnosed and numbers continuing to rise.
She said every year, 10 Australians die from an anaphylactic reaction, and there is currently “no cure” for allergies.
There was, however, “exciting” research underway, she told The Herald – from immunotherapy treatments to “retrain” the immune system to important prevention studies.
Professor Perrett said she was confident researchers were on track to reach the McKenzie family’s goal.
“It’s my life passion to find new ways to prevent food allergy from occurring and to treat food allergy early and ultimately so that, one day, we can get every child to start school allergy free.”
Max’s parents said they would love for the fundraiser to grow each year to motivate other people “who have a Max in their class” and continue the positive impact their son had on the world.
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“Max made the most of every single day and that’s one of the comforts that we have,” Dr McKenzie said.
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