Megan Phelps, an 11 year old, has a rare condition preventing her from producing enough cortisol to manage stress, and so even the smallest tension could prove fatal.
Even a simple cold can drain the life out of her, as her lips turn blue and she slips into a coma. Only quick action through an injection of hydrocortisone that is a replacement for cortisol can pull her out of danger. Cortisol manages stress by providing a boost of blood sugar at critical moments.
Megan is in life-threatening danger if at any point of time she is without an adult who is trained to give her the hydrocortisone injection as soon as she starts turning limp. Her worried mother, Julie cannot let her go out of her sight and her teachers at school have all been trained to administer the injection. In the past six months she had to be rushed to the hospital twice.
Since the injection has to be drawn out of a vial using a needle and syringe, Megan cannot handle it on her own, since it takes just a few minutes for her to collapse.
Her parents, Julie and Paul are campaigning to have the hydrocortisone available in pen-style injections that Megan can use independently. They are working to persuade the Department of Health to make the EpiPens available.
As Pat McBride of The Pituitary Foundation says EpiPens are easy to use when you are feeling so unwell that loading and using a syringe becomes impossible.