After taking only a few bites, I noticed the burger wasn't cooked all the way through...

I lost my only daughter to Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome on June 10, 1991. I had gotten in touch with S.T.O.P. back then, and had given a speech at a food safety forum with Penn State University. At the time I had four children, three of which were very young. I lost touch. It has now been many years since Bethany’s death, and I would like to become active again in this quest. If there is anything I can do please let me know.

I can’t believe children are still dying from this awful decease. It is something that could be prevented just by people being aware. At the forum, a woman who represented the production-side of the food industry said, “Look she’s smoking and assuming risk with that.” I approached her and showed her the warning label on my pack of cigarettes, and said, “There wasn’t one of these on my daughter’s fast food meal. If there was, I wouldn’t have given it to her.” It’s this type of attitude that lets this continue to happen! They blame the consumer.

My story begins June 2, 1991. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon at home with my daughter Bethany. She saw a commercial for a toy prize from a very well-known fast food restaurant. She asked to go there for lunch, but because she was getting over a bout of the chicken pox, I went through the drive thru and brought the meal home. After taking only a few bites, I noticed the burger wasn’t cooked all the way through. Not giving it much thought, I threw it in the garbage. I went on with life as normal until 3 days later, June 5, 1991. The day started out as every other weekday morning. She watched her brother get on the bus and waved goodbye. Shortly after that, Bethany began cramping along with diarrhea. I called the pediatrician and took her in to be seen. She was given medication for the abdominal pain. As the day went on, her bowel movements and severe pain became more frequent. All the while, I was in constant contact with her doctor. She had to undergo platelet exchanges. Only 6 days after the onset of illness, Bethany suffered another massive stroke that left her brain dead. At 7:38 that evening, I had to make the agonizing decision to disconnect Bethany from life support. I had to say goodbye to my sweet and beautiful daughter.

I’ve told you my story not for sympathy but because I never again want anyone to feel the pain and heaviness that I feel in my heart. We need to stop this for good!

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