For Immediate Release – October 11, 2007
World Premiere on November 3, 2007 on Global
There is an explosion of food allergies in this generation.
If you don’t have this law, children are going to die.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (politician & father of a child at risk of anaphylaxis)
On the morning of Sept. 29, 2003, Sara Shannon handed her daughter Sabrina five dollars for lunch,
gave her a quick kiss and watched her walk into the bustling halls of Bishop Smith High School in
Pembroke, Ontario. Four hours later she was standing in the emergency room of the Pembroke General
Hospital watching helplessly as doctors and nurses struggled to save their daughter’s life.
Only 13 years old, Sabrina Shannon died a day later of complications brought about by anaphylactic
shock. Suspected cause of death: eating French fries served in the school cafeteria. French fries that she
had eaten before, only this time the cafeteria was also serving poutine. All it would take is for the same
tongs to be used in both dishes to set off Sabrina’s anaphylactic reaction to dairy.
Since that tragic day, Mike and Sara Shannon have dedicated their lives to ensuring that what happened
to their only daughter will never happen to another child. Sabrina was one of an estimated 1.2 million
Canadians living with life-threatening allergies of which a significant number are schoolchildren.
A one hour documentary co-produced by Lank/Beach Productions, Merit Motion Pictures, CanWest
MediaWorks and the National Film Board of Canada, Sabrina's Law airs as part of the Global Currents
documentary series on Global Television, and follows the Shannon’s journey as they struggle to deal with
their daughter’s death and embark on a heroic crusade for social change. As a result of their efforts, in
2006, the Province of Ontario enforced the first legislation in the world, known as Sabrina’s Law, to
protect children with deadly allergies.
For both Barry Lank (director) and Luanne Lank (co-producer) making this film came out of a deep
personal commitment to tell the Shannon’s story. “As parents ourselves of a young child with life-
threatening allergies, we felt that it was very important to help increase public awareness of the growing
epidemic of deadly allergies and to support the efforts being made by other parents, like Mike and Sara,
to protect all of our children” says Luanne Lank. “This is not a story of remorse; this story is truly
“This film is important and relevant for all of us today” says Merit Jensen Carr (co-producer). “It is a wake-
up call. This crisis can affect any one of our children at anytime. And we each have a responsibility to do
whatever we can to prevent the tragic death of another child.”
Sabrina’s Law talks to representatives from the anaphylaxis community who openly discuss this alarming
health crisis, and introduces us to other parents of children at risk, such as Robert Kennedy Jr, who fight
an up-hill battle for similar legislation in their communities and live in daily fear that their children will suffer
the same fate as Sabrina Shannon.
Sabrina’s Law airs on Global Currents on November 3, 2007 at 10:00pm local time.
To preview a screener, for more information or to arrange an interview with the producers or the director
of the program, please contact:
Jennifer Jensen Tracy
Phone: (519) 442.9179
Cell: (519) 750.4725
Global Television, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Inc.