ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Everywhere Anne McCafferty goes, so does her EpiPen. She’s allergic to peanuts and the emergency device can quickly inject her with the life-saving drug, epinephrine.
She explained, “If I smell peanuts or if I’m anywhere around anyone eating peanuts, if I touch peanut dust, I instantly go into anaphylaxis.”
Anaphylaxis is a severe, whole-body allergic reaction to an allergen that may cause death. For McCafferty, her EpiPen has become a constant companion, but it became an issue at the last preseason Buffalo Bills game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
McCafferty says she and her family were tailgating when a guest services employee approached her, letting her know her handbag was too big to bring inside the stadium.
“I began to tell her that my handbag was a little bit larger because of the fact that I had my EpiPen in it and she immediately said, ‘EpiPens are not permitted in the stadium.’ The personnel at the game kept referencing it as a weapon,” McCafferty said
Scott Berchtold, a spokesperson for the Bills, said there was a communication breakdown and EpiPens are allowed in the stadium. He explained the biggest issue was the size of McCafferty’s bag, which is why she was stopped in the first place.
He said to avoid frustration, fans should call guest services ahead of game day.
“We remain committed and more than happy to help our guests with medical needs. We are also committed to having our security make sure they assist guests who may bring in oversized bags from medical reasons to avoid them being turned away at the gate,” Berchtold said in a prepared statement.
McCaffrerty and her family were eventually let into the game, but she’s frustrated that the process took more than an hour.
“I’ve had this allergy since I was 2-years-old. I’ve carried an EpiPen with me everywhere I go since then I haven’t had any problems on airplanes, crossing the border into Canada, and here I’m just trying to watch a football game with my family and I’m continuously harassed,” she said.