New peanut allergy medication brings hope to Minnesota couple who lost their son

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Bonni and Marcus Halverson have a giant hole in their family as they prepare to sit down for a second Thanksgiving without their son, Jacob Macdonald.

“Every holiday is the same. We miss him the same everyday, whether holiday or not. It makes it harder… the pain is there always,” Marcus Halverson said.

The couple said Jacob was a giant personality, a fun-loving three-sport athlete at Dassel-Cokato High School and a well-rounded 15-year-old with incredible potential.

“Everyone loved him, he loved everybody. He loved sports, loved the drive it gave him. He’s really missed,” Bonni Halverson said.

Tragically, Jacob’s life was cut short 14 months ago when he suffered a deadly allergic reaction apparently after mistakenly eating a cookie with peanut butter in it during a bonfire with friends and classmates.

“We got him Epipens, got him to ER. He was fine. He walked in, gave them his name. Everything went really fast,” she said.

Heartbroken, Jacob’s parents are committed to helping find a cure for peanut allergy sufferers.

Currently, there are no universally approved treatment options available.

The Halversons, however, are encouraged to see that a promising new drug is on the verge of FDA review. The drug reportedly helps patients build a peanut tolerance.

“If we can push and push and push to raise awareness and find a cure or make reactions less severe, it would be so amazing. No parent should have to go through what we went through,” Bonni Halverson said.

In addition to speaking out about the dangers of food allergies, Bonni, Marcus and their other kids are also giving back to their community that held them so close during those tragic days in the fall of 2017.
The family launched the nonprofit foundation Jacob’s Way of Life.

The first annual event was a 5K that raised more than $15,000, most of which was donated to other families experiencing medical hardships.

“It’s what he would have done. He is such a giver, and to give back in his name, it makes our hearts hurt a little less,” Bonni Halverson said.