Joanna Frances Salmingo-Fontaine
March 10, 1988 - August 24, 2018
On August 8th, my sister accidentally reacted to her nut allergy from a dessert she purchased from Whole Foods. What was labeled as ‘non-dairy, vegan’ and ‘may contain traces of certain allergens’ caused misdirection as the dessert’s first ingredient was cashew milk.
Joanna always carried an updated EpiPen®, but that night, it didn’t seem to work (however we will never know as she wasn’t within view when this all went down). We can only assume that it bought her enough time for her to notify us that something was seriously wrong. We were all home to bear witness to the emergency.
Her reaction caused her airway to swell and eventually lose consciousness. We lost her pulse for a significant period of time and while the fast actions of CPR by my mother (a working nurse of 40 years), and the continued actions of EMS crews when they arrived were of medical grade care, too much time had been lost. Repercussions led to permanent brain damage from oxygen deprivation - irreversible by current conventional western medicine. This led to eventual brain death over a period of 17 days in ICU.
The love and support from our families, friends, relatives and in some cases, complete strangers outweigh our grief and sorrow. Our happy memories of my sister and her selflessness and generosity, completely mirror that of a saint and we could not be more proud to offer my sister the opportunity to give the gift of life to those that await a second chance. On August 25th, she fulfilled those wishes thanks to Trillium Gift of Life Network.
She has taught us valuable lessons in love, family and support, but most of all, she has taught me what it truly means to be wealthy. Her IG handle being @TheGirlWanderz makes so much sense now. Good luck on your eternal wander, my sweet baby sister.
Thank you kiddo. Thank you my angel. We know you’ll always watch over us with that soft smile and tender cadence. I love you. We love you. Forever.
As tragic and as unexpected as the events were, we see so much light, love and an overwhelming feeling of joy and pride in what Joanna has accomplished in her life here with us. Our hearts are full, just as our Jojo would want them to be and it goes without saying that she was always the type of person to connect people through her tender cadence.
So, we celebrate her life and her accomplishments with friends, family, relatives and the people who started as strangers, but are now a part of our lives thanks to our superhero connection.
Our family has founded ‘The F.A.T.E. Initiative’
The Food Allergy Training & Education Initiative
This is a high-impact educational forum on the severity of food-related allergies causing anaphylaxis. The forum contains research-based facts and information led by medical professionals and includes the analysis of diet and lifestyle choices that we make and take for granted, every single day. Most importantly, the forum will include epinephrine injection training, how-to and what to do, action & reaction, life-saving tactics as well as general education for present day living.
F.A.T.E offers NO COST talks and seminars (called a FATE FORUM) to all that inquire: Focusing on schools (students & faculty) and community centers (as public drop in courses), public venue staff of all kinds, as well as public care professionals (such as security guards & flight attendants). But we are especially passionate about restaurants, food retailers, producers and distributors, given that I (Joey) have been a restaurant industry worker for nearly two decades.
Because it is necessary.
Because IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.
F.A.T.E is a NOT-FOR-PROFIT initiative.
f.A.T.E Initiative Team
Founder/Forum Leader (Joanna’s Brother)
Co-Founder/Registered Nurse (Joanna’s Mother)
Co-Founder/Supporter (Joanna’s Father)
Dietary & Nutritional Expert
If you have any questions or enquiries, please contact me directly:
Text or call (323) 571-7219
CLICK HERE: GoFundMe.com/AllergyAwareness4Joanna
This trauma to our family is something we never want anyone to experience ever again. Unfortunately, there are millions of people that suffer from life-threatening allergies to food and foodstuffs.
Over the years, we’ve been conditioned to think that EpiPen and Benadryl are reversals and antidotes to these real-life poisons. THEY ARE NOT reversals and antidotes. They buy you time. At least, they’re supposed to. A very short amount. But without proper knowledge, or in the event they don’t work, what will you do?
There isn't enough awareness, training or knowledge about food-related allergies and we believe that most people are oblivious to the dangers of these comestible threats. These people sometimes include parents, friends, restaurants and corporations, sometimes even medical professionals as well as the allergy sufferers themselves.
As the story goes, trauma inspires action: My sister's death inspired us to start this initiative to provide adequate training, awareness and education surrounding the growing epidemic of life threatening food borne allergens.
Your generosity will help buy creative materials, fund production costs for videos, cover travel expenses and most importantly, allow us to educate as we advocate for a safer allergy aware society. Using my established public platform with my network of industry professionals, including a network of family & friends in medicine, para-medicine, education, food-service and hospitality, we have all newly dedicated our lives to educating to preventing another tragedy caused by food-related allergies and anaphylaxis.
Read every ingredient.
And NEVER take a chance on a "May Contain Traces" label.
It's not worth a life.
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
CLICK HERE: GoFundMe.com/AllergyAwareness4Joanna
Press Play - FATE: A Short Documentary
Sometimes your world gets turned upside down — it’s up to you to learn to adapt to the environment you’ve been given. You have to learn to re-direct the negative energy and turn it into something positive you can use.
Press Play - FATE: A Special Independent Report
Just a little over a week after I started a dialogue with The Lead Representative for Food Safety at Whole Foods Global Headquarters, a week later, it came to my attention that changes have been made. While I commend Whole Foods for their quick actions, I’m frustrated it took a fatality for changes to be made - the work doesn't stop here.
Press Play - CTV News Coverage
This September 12th newscast from CTV News allowed our voices to be amplified. We couldn't be more grateful to Tracy Tong and the news team for giving us the opportunity to share the story of my sister Joanna and her fatal accident to raise concern about the need for more awareness in food production, labeling & retail distribution, especially at Whole Foods Market. This story originally aired for CTV Toronto and has since been picked up by other provinces for broadcast in their local CTV newscasts.
Press Play - CP24 News Coverage
Toronto's Breaking News, CP24 has invited me onto the Saturday Noon Hour segment to speak about my sister's death caused by anaphylaxis and the initiative we started as a family to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
This report aired LIVE on Saturday September 22, 2018
Press Play - CTV Morning Live, Regina SK
CTV Morning Live in Regina, SK was kind enough to invite me in to talk about FATE.
This report aired LIVE on Wednesday October 24, 2018