Sarah Ferguson is determined to honor her late uncle.
The Duchess of York recently became a patron of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, a charitable organization that campaigns for allergy research and safety, People magazine reported Wednesday.
According to ITV, the foundation was named in honor of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 at age 15 after unknowingly eating a sandwich with sesame seeds at a Pret a Manger in Heathrow Airport.
People magazine reports her parents, Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, established the charity and have been working to instill “Natasha’s Law,” a bill that requires all food businesses in England and Northern Ireland to list every ingredient in their pre-packaged foods. It is expected to go to into law by summer 2021.
Ferguson told ITV that the cause hits close to home. The 59-year-old’s late uncle also passed away from an allergic reaction to a sandwich.
“My uncle, age 10, died of a crab sandwich at Brancaster Beach and my father was never the same after that,” she admitted. “And my grandmother never forgot John — he was called John.”
Ferguson said she initially did not think much of the tragedy because her uncle’s death occurred many years before she was born. However, after spending time with Ednan-Laperouse’s parents, she realized how much pain her grandmother must have endured over the tragedy.
“It wasn’t until working with Nadim and Tanya and being with them that I suddenly realized, ‘Can you imagine what my grandmother went through?’” Ferguson told the outlet. “In those days, forget it.”
“He was out on the beach with [his] nanny — he wasn’t even with my grandmother or father — he was on his own with [the] nanny and he died within minutes,” added Ferguson.
Ferguson said she is determined to raise awareness on the cause and is urging followers on social media to learn about Ednan-Laperouse’s life in hopes of promoting research.
“An honour to join Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s parents Nadim and Tanya to launch @NatashasLegacy on @thismorning with @hollywills and @Schofe,” Ferguson tweeted on Tuesday. “We need to make her death a watershed moment and support research into a cure #natashaslaw”
In a separate tweet, Fergie added: “So proud to have been asked to be patron of @NatashasLegacy. Today we’re delighted to welcome Government announcement of Natasha’s Law to support allergy sufferers but there is much more work to do to promote research.”
According to the National Health Service (NHS), allergies are very common in the U.K. and are believed to impact more than 1 in 4 people at some point. NHS also shared that the number of those suffering from allergies continues to increase each year. However, the cause remains unclear.