If everything goes well, a kiss should be something special: a brief, physical connection between two people. Sharing first kisses when you’re in a happy relationship can be one of the most memorable times of your life. You’d never think that one simply smooch could end in catastrophe.

Sadly, that was exactly the case for one woman in Canada. After a long night, she tucked into bed next to her boyfriend and he gave her a quick kiss on the lips. Because of a cruel twist of fate, it would be the last kiss she’d ever receive for a very tragic reason…

For the first time in her life, 20-year-old Myriam Ducré-Lemay of Montreal, Canada, was in love. She had a new boyfriend and she couldn’t contain her excitement about her relationship—she even told her mom about it.

“Everything was going well in her life,” Micheline Ducré, Myriam’s mother, recalled. “She told me she was in love. It was the first time I saw my daughter with such bright eyes.” In a just world, nothing would have brought her down.

The Star

It was early in their relationship, and Myriam and her boyfriend decided to attend a party in the city of Montreal. Good times were had, but they became tired, and the couple left the party late at night.

They went back to the boyfriend’s house, where Myriam got ready for bed. While she was washing up in the bathroom, her boyfriend made himself a peanut butter sandwich in the kitchen. Then, he brushed his teeth and returned to the bedroom.

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Before the couple went to sleep, Myriam’s boyfriend turned to her and gave her a sweet goodnight kiss on the lips. For a moment, she swooned—she was utterly in love! But then she noticed that something just didn’t feel right…

Lying in bed, Myriam couldn’t breathe. She fought for air, trying to satisfy the deficit in her lungs, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get the oxygen she needed. So she pulled out her inhaler…

Even the inhaler couldn’t help her catch her breath, though, and that prompted Myriam to panic. Fighting for air and mustering whatever voice she could, she asked her boyfriend a question she already knew the answer to…

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“Did you just eat peanuts?” Myriam gasped. Her boyfriend, confused, admitted he’d made himself a peanut butter sandwich while she was in the bathroom. Myriam’s panic reached critical mass: she told him to call an ambulance.

As it was still early in the relationship, Myriam never told her new boyfriend of one critical detail about herself: she was deathly allergic to peanuts. He had no idea that even the smallest trace of peanut could kill her.

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Worse, Myriam didn’t have her epinephrine auto-injector, or EpiPen, with her. It was the only tool that could have helped her battle an allergic reaction. She fought for her life while the pair waited for an ambulance to arrive.

CNN Money

For eight minutes, Myriam struggled to breathe as her boyfriend panicked and tried to keep her calm. Finally, the paramedics arrived and loaded her into the back of the ambulance, where her situation became even more dire.

Toronto City News

Even in the hands of medics, Myriam suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest—and her heart stopped beating. At the hospital, doctors and nurses fought to revive her. Unbelievably, they succeeded. But their excitement didn’t last…

During her attack, Myriam suffered cerebral anoxia where her brain stopped getting oxygen. Though medics were able to get her heart pumping again, they simply couldn’t repair the damage done to her brain.

Sadly, 20-year-old Myriam passed away, and it was all from a simple goodnight kiss. Naturally, her mother, Micheline, was devastated. But somehow in the wake of tragedy, she also saw an opportunity to better the world.

Using Myriam’s story as an example, Micheline pleaded with others who suffered from peanut allergies to always wear a Medic Alert bracelet—and always carry an EpiPen. Had Myriam done so, she’d likely still be alive. Micheline wasn’t alone in delivering this warning…

TVA Nouvelles

Dr. Christine McCusker of Montreal Children’s Hospital elaborated on Micheline’s warning. Those with allergies “have to say, ‘listen guys, you know I’ve got food allergies. I’ve got my EpiPen. If there’s a problem, help me.'”

McGill Publications

To Dr. McCusker, waiting to tell those you’re close to about severe peanut allergies can be the difference between life and death. The part of peanuts that causes the negative reaction can stay in saliva for four hours—so peanut eaters need to know!

The Children

“This is why you have to carry your EpiPen even though you don’t want to and even though it’s not cool,” Dr. McCusker said. “People don’t necessarily recognize [that] it can go from that point where, ‘I feel funny’ to ‘Uh-oh’ very fast.”

CTV News

Dr. McCusker’s warnings were not meant as criticisms toward Myriam. Rather, she spoke to underscore just how serious living with a peanut allergy can be. It’s just not something you want to take risks with.

9 News Australia

No doubt, Myriam’s midnight kiss was a tragedy—especially since it was completely avoidable. But her frightening story, with Micheline’s efforts in spreading it, might encourage other allergy sufferers to be more open about their condition.

What a terribly unfortunate turn of events. It’s very noble that Myriam’s mother found a way to turn this horrible experience into something that will likely help others suffering from severe allergies.

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