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Friends raising money to bring aspiring model in a coma home to Michigan

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Chantel Gaicalone Chantel Gaicalone
FERNDALE, Mich. (WJBK) -

The camera clearly loves her, and so do countless people across the country, who are praying for aspiring actress and model Chantel Gaicalone.

The West Bloomfield High School graduate is in intensive care at a Las Vegas hospital after accidentally coming into contact with peanuts on February 20.  According to Facebook posts from friends and family members, she went into shock and remains in a coma.

"To have that extensive a reaction is probably what we would classify as a severe anaphylactic-type of reaction, which would be a life threatening reaction," said Dr. Devang Doshi.  "[It] is something we worry about with anybody that has allergies because that potential can be there anytime."

Doshi is an allergist, who treats countless patients with similar severe allergies.  He said more than 400 people in the United States die every year from food allergies.

Gaicalone's family member and friends did not want to talk on camera, but we're told she was unknowingly exposed to peanuts after ordering ice cream.

"Food allergies are very, very serious, and people have bad outcomes with it.  Accidents happen all the time," Doshi said.  "People accidentally come into contact or eat something that they weren't supposed to."

Friends say Gaicalone, who had been living in Los Angeles, does not have health insurance.  She faces a long road to recovery.  A fundraising effort is underway on Facebook to help pay for her medical expenses and bring her back to Michigan for treatment.

Patients living with peanut allergies say this tragic case illustrates the potential danger they live with every day.

"To get someone else to understand the importance of it unless they've experience it themselves, it's kind of tricky," said Nicole Flatley.

A fundraiser and live auction will be held at The Bosco in Ferndale on March 27 at 7:30 p.m.  They're hoping to raise money to bring Gaicalone home.  Tickets are $75 in advance and $100 at the door.  For more information, visit www.onelovechantel.blogspot.com.

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