In July 2017, the Brendon McLarty Memorial Foundation received its 501(c)(3) status.
The foundation was a dream of Brendon’s mom, Lori, and Brendon’s aunt, Jennifer Blair. It was a vision that formed soon after Brendon died, which helped everyone get through the grief. It was a way for something good to come from such a tragedy. Lori and Jennifer were not sure how to actually make their vision a reality, but they never gave up.
With the support of family and friends, The Brendon McLarty Memorial Foundation was born!
In 2017, the foundation made its first donation in the amount of $8,000.00 to the Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital, in Bethany, Oklahoma. The donation was used to sponsor five Respiratory Therapists to receive training and earn certification in asthma education (from the American Association for Respiratory Care, AARC). It also provided instructional and prescriptive materials to educate patients, their families, and referring physicians.
In 2018, the foundation continued its partnership with The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany to create on of the only pediatric asthma education programs in Oklahoma. The clinic provides asthma educational material to patients, family members, and hospital staff.
Additionally, the foundation was invited to attend Allergy and Asthma Network’s Asthma Summit in Seattle, Washington. We had the opportunity to share Brendon’s story at the national level and raise awareness of asthma.
In 2019, the foundation began a partnership with The Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine to provide “asthma kits” for patients seen in the emergency department. The kits provide asthma educational material and supplies for patients with newly diagnosed or uncontrolled asthma. In addition, the foundation actively advocated for SB 381, “Brendon’s Bill,” which will allow schools to stock albuterol inhalers in the event that a child goes into respiratory distress. The bill passed and was signed by Governor Stitt on April 23, 2019. The foundation will be active in the process of implementation. Board members attended Allergy and Asthma Day on Capitol Hill to advocate for federal legislation related to asthma.
The Foundation was approached by Dr. Dunlap at OU Children’s Latino clinic to assist them with spacers and
Spanish asthma material. They were thrilled to receive their asthma “tool kits” for their patients!
state bill 381
Governor Kevin Stitt signed a law allowing schools districts to stock inhalers for health emergencies. Senate Bill 381, authored by Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, at the request of the Foundation, was signed into law by Gov. Stitt on Tuesday.
“Many people don’t realize they have asthma, and for others it can be so minor they don’t have problems. Brendon McLarty was diagnosed with asthma at a young age but it never caused him problems until the last day of his sophomore year when the 16-year-old suffered a fatal attack of sudden severe asthma,” said Floyd. “By allowing school districts to provide inhalers on site, hopefully tragedies like Brendon’s death won’t happen. Just like having Epipens on site, schools will be prepared for those kids who forget their inhalers or don’t know they have asthma. I appreciate everyone’s support of this life-saving legislation.”
According to lawmakers, the bill “allows a licensed physician to write a prescription for inhalers to the school district in the name of the school district and allows the district to maintain two inhalers within a secure location in the building. It also requires school boards that allow districts to stock inhaled asthma medication to amend their policies relating to self-administration of such inhaled asthma medication.”
Officials say Rep. Mickey Dollens is the principal House author of the bill, which was requested by Jennifer and Greg Blair on behalf of Brendon’s parents, Jon and Lori McLarty.
The American Lung Association says asthma can be deadly if not treated immediately and add that the bill has potential to save lives.
“The American Lung Association in Oklahoma thanks the legislature for passing and Governor Stitt for signing Senate Bill 381 today that will allow schools in Oklahoma to provide more immediate access to medications for students with asthma. Specifically, the bill allows schools to maintain a supply of asthma medications at the school, which students with asthma or believed to be experiencing an asthma episode can use if necessary. Asthma can be a deadly disease if flare-ups are not treated immediately, so this bill has the potential to save lives for schools that take advantage of this authority.”
board of directors
Lori McLarty, Jon McLarty, Gregory Blair, M.D., Valerie Loesch, CPA, David Crossley, Leslie Crossley, Julie Brittain
Executive Director: Jennifer Blair, LMSW