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TueMay 20

International Red Sneakers Day – May 20, 2025

Not everyone knows that allergies can be life-threatening, so education on the fatality of allergies is one of the aims of International Red Sneakers Day, which is observed on May 20. The non-profit organization Red Sneakers for Oakley invites the entire world to join and requests that everyone wear their red shoes to draw attention to the rising food allergy problem, which affects around 250 million people around the world. Today provides an opportunity to use a straightforward but powerful symbol like red sneakers as a means of drawing attention to the severity of the challenges that people with food allergies face all around the world. The event also serves as a platform to raise awareness about the dangers associated with food allergies.

History of International Red Sneakers Day

On Thanksgiving Day in 2016, the Debbs family traveled to Maine with all of their extended family to celebrate the holiday. Because it was freezing outside, aside from spending most of the day participating in sports, Oakley Debbs also spent around two hours at a fun park bouncing on trampolines. After everyone went to eat dinner. Oakley did not eat his meal because he said it was too spicy.

Oakley returned home and ate a cake that included either nut extract or nuts without realizing it, resulting in a fatal allergic reaction. The unfortunate outcome was that he passed away, and his family felt that they were not adequately informed about the danger of allergic responses, which ultimately resulted in his death. In their opinion, Oakley’s allergist’s office did not provide them with sufficient information about the hazards of food allergies. In their ignorance, they did not realize that antihistamines (such as Benadryl) do not alleviate systemic symptoms and that epinephrine is the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis. After that, they realized they needed to do something to stop this from happening to anyone else in the same situation. So to create public awareness and in memory of their son, they established the non-profit organization Red Sneakers for Oakley. It was only natural for Oakley’s parents to use his favorite shoes as a powerful symbol to convey the severity of his food allergies, given that he wore red sneakers in all of the sports that he participated in.

With the belief that education is needed between allergists, hospitals, first responders, parents, school personnel, and the general public at its core, the nonprofit organization’s mission is to raise awareness of food allergies around the world, and they have committed their resources to education and activism.

International Red Sneakers Day timeline


Sir Henry Hallett Dale makes the first discovery of histamines as a contaminant of ergot, which is produced by bacterial action.

The Antihistamine Chemical

The first antihistamine chemical is identified by Daniel Bovet and found to be beneficial in treating allergic reactions because it counteracts the effect of histamines.


Bovet’s invention, Pyrilamine, is made into a medication.

The EpiPen

The EpiPen Auto-Injector is invented and goes on to save countless lives.

International Red Sneakers Day FAQs

What is the significance of the day?

To assist friends, coworkers, and family members who are affected by food allergies.

Who is eligible to take part?

Anyone interested in raising awareness about food allergies and preventing anaphylaxis can get involved.

What location will be used for the day?

Any place is acceptable, including your home, a park or sports field, your school, a library, your place of worship, a restaurant, or your office.

How to Observe International Red Sneakers Day

  1. Wear red sneakers

    To celebrate the day, you can wear red sneakers, which were Oakley’s favorite kind. You can take a picture and upload it on social media to raise awareness. If you do not have red shoes, you can wear any red item you have.

  2. Cook with allergies in mind

    Increase the ease with which people who suffer from food allergies can identify potentially dangerous items. Provide support for restaurant food protocols that are simple to understand.

  3. Hold a sports event

    Oakley loved playing sports. So, a good way to honor his memory is to organize sporting events. At the event, you can encourage people to make a donation that will help other people and go towards education, awareness, and community outreach programs.

5 Important Facts About Allergies

  1. A delayed reaction

    When anaphylactic symptoms first appear it may take up to an hour for the body to react.

  2. Cofactors

    Food allergies can be exacerbated by exercising before eating an allergen, and asthma as well as harsh weather conditions are also included in this group.

  3. Anaphylaxis

    Use epinephrine if two bodily systems are affected after consuming an allergen.

  4. Epinephrine vs. antihistamines

    Anaphylaxis can only be treated with epinephrine as the first-line treatment — antihistamines (such as Benadryl) may help with hives, but they are not capable of treating anaphylactic shock.

  5. Keep two EpiPen Auto-Injectors

    In the event of an emergency, you should always have two EpiPen Auto-Injectors on hand in case you need them.

Why International Red Sneakers Day is Important

  1. It promotes engagement

    Red shoes and other red clothes are worn by people with food allergies to raise awareness of the issue among their friends. Friends, relatives, and acquaintances are encouraged to join in, which raises awareness about the need for food allergy education and advocacy. In the office, at school, and at home, today’s businesses, families, students, and parents are empowered with relevant messages.

  2. It raises awareness

    To raise awareness of the seriousness of food allergies and anaphylaxis, International Red Sneaker Days seeks to provide a safer environment while teaching each other about the hazards of food allergies and how to prevent fatal anaphylactic reactions. This can be accomplished by working together with schools and the workplace to educate about allergy procedures.

  3. It creates a community for those with allergies

    People with food allergies and those who suffer from allergies can come together to show their support for each other during International Red Sneaker Day. This creates a sense of belonging where allergy sufferers can relate to one another in this way and it pushes for the unification of communities learning how to help one another.

International Red Sneakers Day dates

2025May 20Tuesday
2026May 20Wednesday
2027May 20Thursday
2028May 20Saturday
2029May 20Sunday

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