Aspen Misc: Red Sneakers for Oakley gathering on Aspen Mountain |

Aspen Misc: Red Sneakers for Oakley gathering on Aspen Mountain

Staff report
Courtesy photo A March 21 gathering on Aspen Mountain was held to promote anaphylaxis awareness. Those who gathered were family and friends of 11-year-old Oakley Debbs, who died over Thanksgiving weekend after having a anaphylactic seizure that was caused by his unknowingly eating nuts in a pastry.

A group of 40 to 50 people gathered on the top of Aspen Mountain on March 21 to honor the legacy of Oakley Debbs, who died from an anaphylactic reaction from nut allergies Thanksgiving weekend in Maine.

The Aspen Mountain gathering was held to promote anaphylaxis awareness. All of the families were on vacation for spring break from Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, Florida, where Oakley Debbs lived.

Debbs was 11 years old and unknowingly ingested a pastry that contained nuts. He had over a two-hour delayed reaction that resulted in an anaphylactic seizure. Although he was quickly resuscitated by local EMT, he was declared brain dead four days later.

“He was a gentleman, scholar and athlete,” said his father, Robert J. Debbs, noting that as a straight-A student at Rosarian Academy, Oakley Debbs competed on a travel soccer team, was quarterback on his JV football team, winner of a mini marathon, a 13-foot broad jumper, and a tennis player, surfer and skier.

“He was the kindest friend and polite to all he encountered. He was the man anyone would want to be.”

As a result of the untimely death of Oakley Debbs, the Debbs family created a Florida-based nonprofit corporation, Red Sneakers for Oakley.

The Red Sneaker symbolizes the prized pair of red Puma sneakers Oakley wore during many of his athletic activities. He told his parents that if anything ever happened to him, he wanted his best friend to have those sneakers.

The Debbs family urges people to wear red sneakers, not only to honor Oakley but to elevate awareness about this deadly affliction and educate parents about how to prepare for and respond to anaphylactic shock episodes.

Red Sneakers for Oakley has partnered with Food Allergy Research and Education for all of their educational and clinical direction.

Anaphylaxis has become a national epidemic, with children and people passing away weekly. There are more than 17 million people affected.

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