I just came home from a tree dedication ceremony at a playground in Harlem.  It was in memory of 3 year old Elijah-Alavi Silvera, who died last year from anaphylaxis.

He was given a grilled cheese sandwich in his NYC Pre-K class.  He had a known milk allergy, among other food allergies, yet still he was fed a food containing milk, in his very own Pre-K school.

He was only 3 years old, a young child who needed others to help keep him safe and the system failed him.

You can read Elijah’s story here in Allergic Living Magazine.

The overwhelming grief today, standing outside that little park in Harlem, where Elijah loved to play, was palpable. But it was also moving and inspiring.  Amazing grace, courage and determination filled the air.


It’s one of the most sacred human experiences.  Sharing our grief is one way we can truly see deep inside one another, leaving all else behind.  As a nurse, I’ve witnessed and been a part of this spiritual encounter many times.  Each time it’s as sacred as the last, and each time I feel my heart grow.

That’s what happened today.

A devastated family and community stood shoulder to shoulder, in their deepest grief, united in love and this mission of food allergy and anaphylaxis education and awareness, in memory of their beautiful boy, Elijah.

It was a humbling experience, being welcomed into this family’s most precious time while they remembered and honored their little boy.  Through the tears and the pain, there is love.

And now, 

A Tree Grows in Harlem. 

We all hope this small tree will grow big, strong and beautiful, just like Elijah’s memory and life story.

Elijah will never be forgotten.  Elijah will save the lives of other children because of his loving and courageous family, who have shared their child with the world, to help others.

What a day, food allergy family, what a powerful day.  


Please follow their mission @ The Elijah-Alavi Foundation INC Facebook page, and please follow their social media hashtag, #elijahsecho

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