Charity Spotlight: A Mother’s Love
Founder: Lisa Cohen
Lisa Cohen launched the Kyah Rayne Foundation (KRF) in August 2019 to honor her daughter, Kyah Rayne, who died of anaphylactic shock at the age of 21 after mistakenly eating peanut sauce during a family vacation in Mexico. Cohen considers it her life’s work to revamp education and initiate policy change to honor the memory of her daughter.
Someone experiencing anaphylaxis needs care right away. They also need a shot of epinephrine; otherwise, they might not make it to the hospital. KRF believes that by increasing the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors and educating more people on how to use them, they can save more lives of those with food allergies.KRF has produced free online food allergy training programs that empower students, teachers and families to recognize the signs and symptoms of food allergies and anaphylaxis. KRF is also working to increase the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors and lower their cost. Their goal is to decrease and eliminate deaths due to food allergies with a long-term goal of nofood allergy fatalities.
Most surprising thing about the organization:
Before KRF was established, no organization promoted food allergy-awareness education and epinephrine access in schools and other public entities, which Arizona State law allows. Before 2020, only 2 percent of schools had implemented the School Surveillance and Medication Program (SSMP). In just two years, KRF helped increase participation to 20 percent and is continuing to expand the number of participating schools. Without KRF, it is unlikely that broad adoption of the program would have happened.
KRF is revamping and modernizing food allergy training with Kyah’s EPICourse for Schools, an e-learning course that trains people to use auto-injectors safely, and Kyah’s EPICourse for Food Service. KRF is also advancing the implementation of Arizona law governing emergency anaphylaxistraining.
The Kyah Rayne Foundation has big plans for the year ahead, including expanding implementation of the SSMP statewide and nationally, changing the SSMP language in Arizona’s statute to a mandate requiring auto-injectors in all schools, and promoting the new, free Kyah’s EPICourse for Food Service to all restaurant personnel.
To learn more, visit kyahraynefoundation.org