Shelby's Rules - an Alcohol Poisoning Education Foundation
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Letters from Friends

On this page, we will include some of the letters and emails we occasionally receive.  If you have a story to share or a comment to make, please email us on the home page link!

I just wanted to let you know of a call I heard on my husband's scanner last night.
The call was for a 15 year old boy that had been drinking and was passed out. He had started to throw up and his friends put him in the shower to try and wake him up. This must not have worked so they called 911.  Although it made me sad to hear that when they got there the boy was found passed out throwing up in a fetal position, I was so happy and proud of his friends or family for calling 911.  This I'm sure happened because of YOU.
I do not know if this boy ended up being ok. That is one of the many reasons I hate that scanner. But the fact that they called is a great start. I have a 15 year old daughter and a 21 year old son. We "preach" to them all the time about the dangers of drinking, but are also realistic and know that it does happen, therefore have always talked to them about getting help. I have added your web site to my favorites and have my 15 year old daughter look at it often.
I just really wanted to share this with you.
Keep up your good work and I am so very sorry for your loss.

Suzanne Wilson

Thank you for you presentation at Las Plumas High School.   After 32 years of teaching, I can honestly say that was one of the most sobering and educational presentations I have attended at this school.   Your conviction and bravery has touched the lives of our students and staff. It is without a doubt that you have helped save so many lives with just this one presentation.
Thank you from everyone at Las Plumas High School!!

Glenn Dawson
Digital Photography Instructor
Las Plumas High School

Hi Debbie and Steve,

Thank you so much for your presentation to our seniors last week. They enjoyed it and I have had quite a few tell me they learned something. We had absolutely zero problems with alcohol at our prom on Saturday.

If possible I would like to order one of those cool sweatshirts that your daughter was wearing. I wear a large. Please let me know how much they cost and I can send you a check.  Thanks again for your words to live by!

Stephen White
Marysville High School
I just wanted to say thank you so much for coming to talk to Corning High School students.
It definitely changed a lot of people's perspectives on drinking. I heard about Shelby and
realized how alike she is to a lot of people at my school. You really made a difference
in peoples lives.
Thank you sooo much. And I am very sorry for your loss.


Ashley McMorrow
First of all I would like to introduce myself. Im Daniel Mahutga, I attend Corning High School. I met Debbie personally. My friends and I were the 3 guys making the poster about Shelby and binge drinking.
I am really sorry about the loss of your daughter.  As I didnt know her it seems to me like she was a very wonderful young woman and what happened to her was very unfortunate. The loss of her affected many lives.  For one it has affected mine and as you may know I didn't know her personally.
I am really glad that you have taken time out of your life to travel around and inform not only students, but teachers and parents about binge drinking and alcohal poisoning. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to come and speak to myself and my peers today. I know that it is tough for you to talk about it, as it would be for anyone in your shoes. As Shelby stated in her "last words" letter, you are the most couragous woman she had ever met.  I can honestly believe that.  Im positive that not every mother in your situation would do what your doing. Your are amazing to me for that.  I'm sure Shelby would be really proud of you.
I'm really glad you came to Corning High School and talked with us. I know for a fact that you positively impacted many lives today, as you do every time you give your speach. I, for one, have learned a lot from your presentation. It was very informational and I have spread what I learned with my friends hoping that they will do the same. It is very unfortunate that there had to be an innocent life taken in order for people, kids, to take this message seriously. I'm sure that some students you talk to ignore the fact that they could die from this. I just hope that it doesnt take a near death experience for them to realize that binge drinking is very real.
Once again I would like to display my appreciation for you coming to talk to my school, my friends, and helping to save our lives. I can't thank you enough. Like I said earlier, my friends and I made that poster. If there is anything I, or we as a school, can do to help your foundation, I will be the first to volunteer my time to help spread the word and help you. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. Once again, I am deeply sorry for what happened and I wish you the best of luck. Keep talking to teens. They'll get the message. Thank you from not only me but from Corning High School, and teenagers across the nation. Have a nice day.

Daniel Mahutga, 17 
Dear Deb,

This is Kelsi Dean, I hope you remember me, I remember you, and your story, and so do all of my classmates. I just wanted to thank you again for your time spent in Pinedale. You are doing a beautiful thing, and though I am sure it it ridiculously hard for you to continue doing, I would like to share a story with you that will reinforce what an impact you are making on the students that you talk to.

Just to remind you who my class is, we are the seniors graduating this coming Friday who have always been very close, and who are working hard to leave a positive impact on Pinedale High School. There are 53 of us in the graduating class. So, this last weekend, the senior class had a senior campout Sunday night because Monday was Senior Skip Day. Because I know that high schoolers will be high schoolers, I assumed that there would be at least some alcohol. So about 40 seniors came to camp, and only one boy showed up with alcohol. He had alot of beer in his car when he pulled up and was ready to share. I didnt think much of it except for that I would be keeping a sharper eye out than usual for vomiting or passing out. But what I did think ALOt of, and what impressed me about my class, was that no one wanted a drink. The boy was told that no one was going to be drinking and that he could leave or stay and not drink. He chose to stay, and then, because Wyoming teenagers will be Wyoming teenagers, the cans were placed in trees and shot with BB guns. Deb, this is because of you and your bravery. I have never been more proud of a group of students in my entire life.

Thank you so much for coming to our school and sharing your knowledge. Know that your message is being spread and that the Dig Life reminder bracelets are seen everywhere. Thank you so much for your time and effort, and know that if you ever need help or loud advocates of Shelby's Rules, you have at least 40 teenagers in Pinedale sharing the information. Thank you!


Hello Steve,

I would like to let you and Debbie know how much we at Hayfork High School appreciate Debbie traveling up here to share your family's story and how our youth can guard against a similar tragedy. I felt the students were quite moved by your loss and Debbie's ability to tell her story. I heard several comments about students not realizing that so few drinks could be that risky, even though I, as the health teacher, know they have heard most of the alcohol education before. At their age they tend to think "it can't happen to me."

Thank you very much and your family will be in our hearts and minds.

Robert Drain
Health teacher
Hayfork High School 
 Dear Allen Family,

I am a Mom from Pinedale, WY. Jan and I have been friends since they moved to Pinedale. May is an extremely busy month for me, and I was very sorry that I did not get to meet you (Deb) while you were here. In May, I wanted to personally thank you for what you are doing. Even though I have suffered great losses, I have never lost a child, but I have an inkling of how hard it is for you. So many people deal with grief in different ways, and while this part of your life will never "go away" it does become a part of your journey. A very hard and painful part of your journey. But now I have a story to share with you, and my thankfulness to you goes beyond what any words can tell or say...

Consider the saying "it takes a village to raise a child;" I personally have four children, one of whom is in the graduating class of 2009. But more than 1/2 of our graduating seniors have been together since pre-school, and before, so we as parents have looked after each of these kids, and we all feel a connection to each of them. Last night was the senior camp out. They keep it a secret as to where it is, so they can feel free to do what kids do. Some drink, some don't. One of our kids drank too much; way too much as it turns out. So some of them, (or maybe all of them, I don't really know), stepped up to the plate, got her safely out of there, and took her to the clinic. She was very dehydrated, and got IV fluids. I can't say for certain how bad off she was. But I can say for certain, that our kids knew she could not spend the night in the cold, miles away from medical help, just in case. They knew the signs. They knew the potential consequences could be far more devastating than any trouble they (or their friend) may have gotten into. They knew what was the right thing to do.

My daughter drove the girls car out, and was one of the kids who helped to make the decision to take their friend to the clinic. As she was telling me the story today, (wearing her shelbysrules hoody...which she had also worn to the camp out), I just cried and cried for you; not so much because of your loss, but because of your gain, and for the tremendous gift you have given to my extended Pinedale family. When my daughter was finished with the story, I asked her if she thought she had learned anything from you, and if the awareness of what had happened to Shelby influenced their decisions to go to the clinic. My daughters response was "oh yea!"

Thank you; Thank god for Shelby; and Rejoice!

In loving memory of someone I am just now getting to know,


Dear Deb & Steve,

Unbelievable. If i could get the buses, i know at least 200 students, administrators, parents, emergency response teams and community members who would travel the 16 hours from here in Sublette County to be in the commercial on Saturday. In particular, the students would be there, all in green, white and orange, our school colors.

i want to give you 4 updates on how "DIG LIFE!" has affected one of the least populated counties in the least populated state. Of course, the first affect was seen the weekend of May 17th- you have posted the letter from Kelsi Dean on the Foundation website, concerning one of the senior camp out parties and how Deb's message truly changed the course of that camp out party.

The next ripple that i felt was from the ambulance service, ER & Paramedic teams. At the meeting following Deb's presentations (which every EMT & Paramedic attended), it was voted on and passed that there would be a separate emergency phone line, dedicated to alcohol related incidences. This was done and will be instituted to insure caller anonymity. The hope is that it will encourage people to call for help.

While at a graduation party last Thursday, friends of ours reported that their child had been arrested for a DUI a month before Deb's visit. While receiving sentencing last Wednesday, one of our judges asked this person why it was important to have consequences on this first offense. The reply from this young person was to show the judge all of the ShelbysRulesFoundation information and the wrist band which never leaves this person's wrist.

We attended the graduation ceremonies last Friday night, Michael being able to be on stage as a school board member and shake the paws of all of the seniors. Even though i could not see all of the handshakes, i could see enough to know that the DIG LIFE! reminder wristbands were on a majority of the hands which he shook. Not only do the seniors and other high school students wear the bands, parents, teachers and much of the middle school kids sport them, along with T shirts and sweatshirts, with obvious pride. We are stopped wherever we go by people so touched by Deb's presentations and message. i am selfish and wish that Shelby were here to flap her wings but it chokes me knowing that she truly has become a butterfly for all of the world.

Invite the surrounding counties' schools to participate, in particular, the ones where you have spoken. Bet they will jump all over this. And, if there are graduations and sober grad events on Friday night, PERFECT!! You will have a bunch of sober people in a TV commercial, all the better.

The message is to take care of oneself and humanity. How do we, out here without a stop light in the county, 90 miles from a Wal Mart, 80 miles from a McDonald's, with no local TV and one radio station, how do we get it and not large, media rich communities?

Wish we could physically be there but, know in your hearts, that, as every day, we are there...... along with a huge group of Wild Wyomingites who support, love and thank you for educating all of us. Parents who attended the talks are giving their kids demonstrations at home, as are bar owners with their employees. i know you will never give up, neither will i. Remember what JJ said: "to be an educator requires risk and not everyone will like the risks which you take." And, don't ever forget, the only regrets one should end up with are the risks NOT taken.

We will be there soon!
We love you,
Jan, Michael & Gilly


It was a very powerful and moving presentation that I know the kids and
staff (myself included) got something from. You and your wife are very
strong in your message and resolve. I would not change much to the
presentation. You might want to check the quality of the DVD as there
are a couple of audio glitches that might have developed from use. The
content and subject of the DVD though was very fitting and moving. I
have sent this on to a couple of teachers I know at Paradise Unified and
plan on approaching them as a parent that would like the presentation
given to my daughter and her classmates at some time, they are in the
7th grade, but quickly approaching the time that they need to have this
presentation. I would recommend it to any administrator and would feel
free to answer any questions one might have about the presentation.
Feel free to forward my contact info to any school administrator that
wishes this feed back in the future.

Nino Pinocchio
Assistant Superintendent
Butte County Juvenile Hall
41 County Center Dr.
Oroville, CA 95965
(530) 538-7311
(530) 538-6695 fax

My name is Courtney Thompson and I took my boys Alexander (16) and Raul (6) to see the presentation of Shelby's Rules at State Theater in Woodland CA, last year. At that time I had no issues with my son and drinking but thought it would be good to see it and learn something.

This last Tuesday, February 23, 2010 I picked my son up after school he had called me and asked me to stay after school and play handball.  I agreed.  I got off work a little early and picked him up and he was drunk for the first time ever!  I took him home, called the ER Doctor on call for the night and they said to keep an eye on him and asked "was he coherent?".   He was at the time.  I was so scared to see my child drunk.   I was very scared, so I sat with him and laid him down and laid right next to him.  I stayed there for about an hour and then got up to use the bathroom and heard him choking.  I jumped up and ran to him and he was doing exactly that - choking on his throw up. Had it not been for what I learned from Shelby's mom, even as a parent I didn't know that people "CAN" choke on their own throw up and die. I picked Alex head up and helped him sit up he was still somewhat choking.  I literally picked him up and put him in my car and drove straight to the ER and that is where we spent the night.

Alex's alcohol level was twice the legal limit and he had what they called acute poisoning.  He still could have died.  I know that if it were not for me being there and lifting his head this might have been the worst time in my life ever. I just want to thank Shelby's mom and Shelby for what they have shared with us.  Shelbys death was not in vain.  I often think of that beautiful girl and I know that she is looking out for many kids. Thank you again and keep spreading the word, I know I will.  Alex is ok and says he has learned his lesson and I hope so but we also are involved with counseling to help.  FYI, he had 8 shots of Jose Cuervo that day and weighs 155lbs and has a very athletic build.

Courtney Thompson
Dear Mrs. and Mr. Allen,

Thank you so much for your presentation! I know a lot of my classmates drink and see these things happen often. A lot of them are now reconsidering what happens during those parties and bonfires, and are taking bodily reactions to alcohol much more seriously. I myself don't drink for this very reason, and because my cousin died of the same reason.
A lot of people didn't care or notice before. Groups of people passed out on the floor was simply funny. Many people were talking after the presentation, and you could here the words "I had no idea" all around you. Thank you so much for bringing this to everyone's attention and spreading the message! Out of all the drug an alcohol presentations we've seen at our school, I think yours was the one that truly grabbed people and showed what really happens to your body during these times.

Thanks again,

a Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School Student


Dear Family of Shelby Lyn Allen,

My name is Alazan Flores, and I am a junior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prepatory. I was in the audience today March 9th 2010 when the mother spoke so bravely about her daughter. This presentation touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It also gave me solitude in a situation that I was in a couple months ago. My friend was drinking at my house, my mother was away on buisness. She drank to much and began to vomit. Because the vomiting would not stop for a long time, and she finally fell unconsious on the floor I called 911. After the ordeal she was angry that I did what I did. Her mother did not trust her for a long time. I felt guilty, and like a snitch. But after seeing this presentation you gave me the confidence that I did the right thing and made me feel good about my decision that night. If my friend would have seen your presentation today she would have said the same thing. You made me understand that this was way better than having a death on your hands. If something like that would have happen I could never forgive myself. From the pictures you showed today, Shelby was full of life and love for the world. This is because she had a loving family and people who cared about her. Who wouldn't this make happy??? Shelby was very lucky to have a family as wonderful as you. Again thank you for your wonderful presentation, and I will definitely spread the word of Shelby's Rules.

Thank You!
Alazan Flores


Mrs. Allen,

Hi. My name is Aurora Myers and I go to Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep.  I'm a junior.  I wanted to say thank you for coming out to our school and educating us about acute alcohol poisoning.  I think the world should be filled with more amazing and inspiring and beautiful people like you and your family.  I learned a lot from what you taught.  I always knew drinking was bad, but I never knew it could kill you that easily.  I promise, thanks to your wisdom, that if I am ever in a bad situation, I will definitely call for help.

Shelby's tragic accident was a blessing in disguise, in my opinion.  She is an example of someone vivacious and spirited whose precious life was taken away.  She seemed like a really cool girl.  Your visit and Shelby's words have reminded me not only to dig life, but to also cherish it and take care of it.  I believe that God has a really special place for Shelby, you, and your family in heaven.  It's such a breath of fresh air to meet caring, loving and beautiful people like yourself.

Thank you for everything, and God Bless!

Aurora Myers '11



Dear Allen family,

I am an 11th grader at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep and I was at
Debbie's presentation today.  Debbie, let me first say that I was
incredibly affected by your dedication and willingness to share the
tragic story of your daughters passing.  To be completely honest, when
I heard that we were having an assembly on alcohol prevention, I was
not excited.  I assumed that it was going to be boring and that I would
already know everything that I was going to be told.  I was incredibly

The slideshow of your beautiful daughter reminded me much of myself
and my friends.  The pictures were full of life, they didn't seem posed
but instead seemed natural and real.  I kept looking around the room
for Shelby, thinking that she would soon approach the stage and talk
about her experience.  When you were introduced, that is when I knew
that Shelby was no longer here. I was immediately intrigued by your
family's story. It was cool to hear someone speak naturally and
honestly instead of many previous school assembly speakers who simply
read off of a paper or PowerPoint presentation.

I myself do not drink.  But I do have friends that drink, I go to parties where people are drinking and it always
puzzles me. Because so many people think that it is cool to get drunk,
and cool to get sick, almost like it's an accomplishment or a
representation of your popularity. You acknowledged that false mindset
so well!

I just wanted to share my great appreciation for your time today. It
was not boring. I learned many new things!  And I was truthfully
touched by your daughters' story.  I will pass it on to many of my

I also read two of the pieces Shelby wrote on your website and I must
comment that she was an INCREDIBLE writer!

You are an inspiring woman and I wish you and your family the best!

Thank You,

Ruby Betten



 Debbie Allen presented to our student body of 1250 on March 9th, 2010.
The presentation is a chronology of Debbie's family's tragic story and
how after the death of her daughter, she researched everything she could
about acute alcohol poisoning (AAP). Her alarm that most people did not
appreciate the dangers of AAP lead her to contact schools and other
groups of young people and parents and tell them this information. Her
presentation is an ideal balance of information and passion and is never
"preach-y". At my school, I plan an annual assembly which looks at the
consequences of drug and alcohol use by young people. Some of the older
students at my school told me that of all the assemblies they had seen
on this topic, Debbie's was the most meaningful. Sometimes it is hard
to get 1250 students to focus on a speaker what with young people's
tendency to want to socialize and their high level of energy. During
Debbie's presentation, you could have heard a pin drop in that
gymnasium. I highly recommend her presentation and I invite anyone
considering inviting Debbie to speak to your group to contact me if you
have any questions.

Thomas E. Farrell, MA
Science Teacher and Counselor
Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory
1055 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
415-775-6626, ext. 704


Hello Mrs. Allen (and family)!

I am one of the many students that had the privilege to spend our fifth block listening to your presentation.  I felt compelled to send you a message and tell you how moving it was. I am not normally the emotional kind, but your presentation did make an impression on me.
I have never been a fan of underage drinking, and your presentation affirmed to me that I have had the right mindset. I cannot begin to understand what your family has been through, but I have seen the affects of drinking in general.  My aunt was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 18. I never met my aunt, but I see the pain occasionally in my grandparents and mother.
I have been raised to think of drinking as a bad thing, but upon entering high school I began to question things. My parents told me that it was a good thing to be questionable, because I was turning into the person that I was going to be by doing so. However, they also said that I need to follow that questioning up with research and to make my own wise decisions.
I would like to thank you for, in a way, knocking me off of the fence and onto the side I need to be on. Now I'm a positive that I needed a reality check from my unsure and doubtful thinking. The questions like "Why not just a sip?" or "Come on, you know it won't hurt, right?" will not sway me as they may have had I been presented alcohol before your presentation.  I can promise you that.
I thank God for sending you to our school that day, and I believe that there was a reason.  I don't know what my future holds or what any parties my friends have will hold.  Sometimes I have to learn from my own mistakes; that's a part of life.  However, I can gladly say that I will not make my own mistake by playing around with alcohol.  Again, thank you so much.  I promise you that your trip to Hollister was worth it, even if it was only for me.  Thank you so much. God bless you and your work!

Your freshman friend from SBHS,

Chelsea K. Walker

God Bless the USA







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