Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Guest Blogger Margo Calls for Reform and Passage of S.510

Meet Margo, a college senior who traveled with us to DC to work on FDA Reform. I've asked her to talk about her trip and why she wants to see movement on S.510.

Food safety is probably the last thing on a college kid’s mind. At least it was for me. That all changed in May of 2009 after I spent six nights in the hospital after eating an FDA approved food item that was contaminated with e. coli O157:H7.

In May of 2009 I was at school in Charleston, South Carolina getting ready to attend a school  awards ceremony when I decided to bake cookies. With no fresh eggs at the local corner store, I picked up some pre-packaged cookie dough. When I got home I quickly split them apart, took a nibble and threw them in the oven.  Little did I know that the one nibble would almost kill me in the following two weeks.

Over the next week, I started feeling lethargic and woke up one morning drenched in sweat and extremely nauseous. I toughed it out and took my previously scheduled flight back home to Staunton, Virginia. But over the next few days, I continued getting worse and worse until I had a burning sensation in my stomach so strong that my mom took me to the emergency room. In the ER, I was forced to drink three bottles of liquid so I could have a scan done. Doctors didn’t know what was wrong so they isolated me and I was put on powerful antibiotics until a test three days later into my six-day hospital stay revealed that I had e. coli O157:H7.

I can’t really tell you about what happened while I was in the hospital. For most of my stay I don’t remember the details. I remember telling my mom that something was in me and I thought I was rotting from the inside out. It turns out I was right. There was something in me. e. coli is not just a stomachache. It is not pretty or glamorous. It is extremely painful and basically causes your body to rot out.

No one should be told there is a strong chance that their senior year of college will be ruined because of multiple surgeries. No one should be told that if they had just waited just a few more hours to come to the ER they wouldn’t be alive. I was told all of these things.

Today I am very involved with S.T.O.P – Safe Tables Our Priority  In March of 2010 I traveled  with S.T.O.P. to Capitol Hill in DC to speak to our senators about the importance of getting S. 510: The Food Safety Modernization Act to the Senate floor for a vote. Traveling to DC was an experience I will never forget. A part of me was in denial about how much this whole ordeal had changed my life. After listening to so many stories of others I cried. It was the first time I had really cried about it since it happened.  If anything, listening to the stories of deceased parents and children made me more determined than ever to greatly improve the status of our food safety system.

In March I was told that S. 510 would be voted on very shortly. On May 8th, 2010 I will graduate college. On May 8th, 2009 I wasn’t sure if that would be a reality. The best graduation gift I could get would be for everyone who reads this to tell their senator to bring this bill to the floor for a vote now. To give your senator this message, please click here:


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for putting your voice behind this effort Margo! You are a great advocate!