Amid EpiPen furor, suburban victim of allergic reaction remembered

ELMHURST, Ill. (WLS) -- Amid the growing uproar about the cost of life-saving medication EpiPen, the community in west suburban Elmhurst prepares to remember and honor a young girl who died because the medication was not available to her.

"I just don't want any other parent to have to go through what I went through," said Shelly LeGere.

As calls grow louder for Mylan to lower the cost of the EpiPen, LeGere is thinking about her daughter. In 2015, 13-year-old Annie LeGere died of brain injuries which were the result of an undiagnosed allergic reaction.

"She was at a sleepover when this all happened last year, just looking forward to starting her eighth grade," Shelly said.

Through her foundation, To The Moon And Back, LeGere made it her mission to equip first responder emergency vehicles, schools and as many other public settings as possible with epinephrine auto-injectors, commonly known as EpiPens. That effort culminated with the recently-enacted Annie LeGere Law.

If administered within minutes, EpiPens can successfully treat allergic reactions and save lives. Until 2011, Illinois was not required to have them in public places, schools or even ambulances.

Now there is controversy surrounding the makers of the EpiPen and the dramatic spike in prices for the popular injector. Experts said the cost of the EpiPen has skyrocketed by 400 percent since 2009, from $100 to more than $600.

"This really undercuts those efforts. I mean, if cost has been an issue, cost increasingly is an issue that prevents people from obtaining access, so it undercuts the efforts that we've been working so hard to pass in Springfield," said State Senator Chris Nybo (R-24).

A tree stands in remembrance of Annie LeGere on the one-year anniversary of her death, as her mother continues to dedicate herself to allergy awareness in her daughter's memory.

"She had a heart of gold, a contagious smile and she was just as beautiful on the inside as she was on the out," Shelly said.

On Saturday, a memorial will be dedicated to Annie at the suburban school where she would have been an eighth grader.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.