Cameron Jean-Pierre, an 11-year old boy from New Jersey, unexpectedly died after experiencing what appeared to be an allergic reaction from the smell of fish that his grandmother was cooking.
Cameron, who was a sixth-grader and honor-roll student at Theodore Schor Middle School, visited his grandmother to attend their New Year celebration with his family in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn.
They were about to leave when his grandmother and aunt started cooking a traditional Carribean dish called salt fish. The boy showed symptoms of an allergic reaction upon inhaling the smell of the fish. He lost consciousness so his father tried to administer CPR and treat him with a nebulizer.
“I’m just devastated by the situation right now, it just happened so suddenly,” his father, Steven Jean-Pierre, told WABC. “I gave him the nebulizer, the machine, that he usually takes if something like this happens, so it was a normal situation. But for some reason, he said it wasn’t giving him enough air at the time.”
About 15 minutes later, they called 911. When medical assistance came, Cameron was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
His father described the heartbreaking last moment of his son.
“My son’s last words were ‘Daddy I love you, daddy I love you,’” he said. “He gave me two kisses, two kisses on my face. He said, ‘I feel like I’m dying.’ I said, ‘Don’t say that. What are you talking about. Don’t say that.’”
Cameron’s mother, Jody Pottingr, remembered how he was when he was alive.
“Cameron was full of life, he was just such a great kid,” she said. “I had no problems with Cameron. He’s very helpful. He’s very smart. He plays sports. He loved playing football. He loved reading…In his school, he’s on the honor roll. His principal told me, she was like, ‘Cameron is like a mentor for all the kids here.’ When he used to live in Brooklyn, it was the same thing. All his teachers love him.”
The chief medical examiner has yet to determine the official cause and manner of death of the young boy.
Cameron’s family set up a GoFundMe to help cover the funeral costs. So far, it has raised over $9,000 which is way past its $5,000 goal.
Meanwhile, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology warns people with allergies to fish to “stay out of areas where fish is being cooked, as proteins may be released into the air during cooking.”