Photo Courtesy of the Maturo Family
You know August Maturo as the sweet and adorable little brother to Riley Matthews on Disney Channel's Girl Meets World. And while he's a champion at delivering hilariously precious one-liners on TV, there is a whole other side to his world that you may not know. Every day of his life, he and his family deal with his life-threatening allergies.
"I’m allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, and coconut," he EXCLUSIVELY tells M. In the past, Auggie experienced anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction which can cause swelling, choking, and vomiting.
"He was three years old and we were at a family get together," Auggie's mom Maha Maturo says. "He tried a cashew for the first time and he started choking and gagging and his lips swelled. He vomited. I recognized those as symptoms of anaphylaxis and rushed him to the emergency room, where they gave him epinephrine, which is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. After that, we met with Auggie’s allergist, who then diagnosed him with his food allergy."
While Auggie admits the ordeal was frightening, he says he feels better prepared knowing there is a plan in place. "Having an action plan makes me safe," he says. "It was scary but knowing what to do made me feel safe."
Auggie and his mom are partnering up with EpiPen On Location to share their family's anaphylaxis story and to spread awareness and promote the importance of having an action plan.
Naturally, having a severe food allergy means changing up your lifestyle. Since Auggie spends so much time on set, he has to be very cautious of all of the food he comes in contact with.
"So whenever I go on set, there could be stuff that we don’t know if it has peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, or coconut in it," Auggie reveals. "So my mom always checks the food."
Both Auggie and his mom agree that the most important thing to do once realizing you have a severe allergy is to form an action plan.
"The number one thing that we do is we avoid Auggie’s allergic triggers," Maha says. "The second thing is to recognize what the symptoms of anaphylaxis are, which can be different from person to person. For Auggie, we recognized that it was swelling of his lips and his face, choking, and vomiting. The number three thing is to always have access to two EpiPens. The reason you have to have two is because 20% of people could use a second dose of epinephrine. The fourth thing is to seek immediate medical assistance if anaphylaxis occurs. So that’s our plan."
Spreading awareness about this issue is really important to the Maturo family, which is why they were thrilled to get involved with the EpiPen campaign.
"Raising awareness and having people understand what anaphylaxis is and always being prepared in case anaphylaxis occurs is something that is really close to our hearts," Maha admits. "We were thrilled when they chose us to partner with them on this campaign and initiative."
Auggie's personal EpiPen video regarding his experience with anaphylaxis will be released on Monday, May 18th, the third of three video PSAs. Users can share the videos, which will enter them into a sweepstakes to win a three-night/four-day Walt Disney World® Resort vacation from Mylan during the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival this fall. Not to mention, the winner will get to meet Auggie himself!
To learn more about anaphylaxis and how to create your own, personalized action plan, log onto EpiPenOnLocation.com. And don't forget to tune into the season two premiere of Girl Meets World on Disney Channel, tonight at 8:30 pm!