The family of a Maryland single mother, who died from a catastrophic anaphylactic attack a fortnight ago, say they have been overwhelmed with the community’s generosity.
Following the sudden and shocking death of 31-year-old Hanna Edmonds, nee Scigala, from a peanut reaction, the family banded together to launch a Go Fund Me Page to help pay for her funeral.
Within hours Novocastrians had headed the call, raising $7,000 toward the cost of her funeral.
Hanna’s sister Stephanie Scigala then focused on the futures of Hanna’s three children 12-year-old Madden, nine-year-old Leo and three-year-old Paton.
“My biggest worry was how my parents were going to afford to pay for the funeral and the memorial,” Stephanie said.
“And, how they will cope with the children.”
Stephanie’s father Luke is retired, and her mother Chris works part-time. They are both aged in their 60s.
“Hanna’s eldest begins his first year of high school this year,” Stephanie told the Newcastle Weekly.
“Her middle child continues primary school and her youngest needs to keep going to daycare to support her social and emotional development.
“That’s why I set up the page.”
The initial goal was to raise $5,000.
“Within 12 hours it was already up to $7,000,” Stephanie said.
“I didn’t expect that at all. Hanna didn’t have a big social group, it was always just her and the kids, but people who knew her really liked her.
“Then there’s people who have never met us who are donating, and that has been so overwhelming.”
Stephanie says Hanna had known about her peanut allergy since she was a young woman.
“She’s always had a severe allergy to peanuts and she’s always been so careful to check everything she eats,” she said.
“She doesn’t even keep food in the house that has traces of peanuts.
“That’s the most frustrating thing for us as a family, we have no idea what she’d eaten that night.
“It looks like she just had a sweet snack while she was watching tv. That was about 9pm on 4 January.
“Hanna raced to grab her epipen and when that didn’t work she called an ambulance.
“My nephew, the nine-year-old, called my brother but he didn’t get through so he texted him to come to the house.
Stephanie’s twin brother drove himself and his mother to Hanna’s home immediately.
While he took the three children for a drive to distract them, Hanna’s mum stayed by her side waiting for the ambulance.
“Hanna had also asked the neighbours for help too, and they were the ones who did CPR on her,” Stephanie said.
Sadly, Hanna went into cardiac arrest whilst in the ambulance on her way to hospital.
She died soon afterward.
“The doctors said everyone did everything they could to save her,” Stephanie said.
The family has yet to have a funeral for Hanna.
In the meantime a neighbouring business has stepped in to help with further costs.
The Minmi Cafe is hosting a fundraising event on 29 January.
“It brings me so much peace to know so many people are going to help mum and dad through this time,” Stephanie says.
“They shouldn’t have to struggle with caring for Hanna’s kids.
“Any amount would be greatly appreciated by both my family and Hanna, knowing that her children will be able to be cared and loved for.”
Stephanie is also now passionate about warning others about the risk of peanut allergies.
“This is not just about Hanna’s kids either. It’s about raising awareness too. People talk about what could happen, worse case scenario if someone is allergic to peanuts. Well this is worse case, it can happen.
“We need epipens to be more accessible and we need people in doubt to know this is very real.”
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