THOUSANDS of people have responded to a grieving mother's plea for wider availability of life-saving EpiPen injections to help people with potentially fatal food allergies.
Caroline Sloan, whose teenage daughter Emma died after suffering a fatal reaction to a restaurant nut sauce, has launched a petition to free up access to the life-saving injection devices.
Emma was just 14 when she died on a Dublin footpath from an allergic reaction to peanut sauce in a buffet restaurant just days before Christmas.
More than 3,500 people have signed a petition online in support of free availability of EpiPen injections since she launched her campaign through 'The Herald' newspaper last Thursday.
She told the Irish Independent last night: "It's incredible. We've had people in Canada, California, and Australia signing up, as well as all over Ireland."
"I've just had contact from Co Carlow looking for copies of the petition. We welcome contact from all parts," she said.
The heartbroken mother's petition asks for support for her campaign to allow EpiPens to be freely available in schools and in restaurants.
People can access it through her Facebook page and click a link to the campaign which she has named 'Emma's Voice'.
Ms Sloan held Emma in her arms on the footpath in O'Connell Street as she died.
Ms Sloan had moments earlier entered a pharmacy and told a chemist her daughter was suffering an allergic reaction and needed an Epipen injection.
She said her request for an EpiPen for Emma was refused by the pharmacist who told her he could not give her it because she did not have a prescription.
She was advised to bring her to a hospital emergency department instead. As she went to get her car from the Arnotts carpark her daughter collapsed on a path on O'Connell Street.
The girl told her aunt, who was accompanying her, "I'm not going to make it".
Ms Sloan said that when she returned to her daughter, she held her in her arms. Emma died in her arms on the footpath.
Parents of those children should be given identity cards which would allow them to get an EpiPen in a pharmacy.
She said she never realised that Emma's allergy to nuts could be fatal.
If she knew her daughter's peanut allergy could be fatal, she would have ensured she carried an EpiPen everywhere, she said.