Since May 1, 2017 we have been sharing our #UPLIFTFOODALLERGIES Campaign. During this time I have had a lot of readers asking me what uplifts me in my journey. As I contemplated this in my mind, a million different moments rushed in my head, that lead me to the one common factor and that is this beautiful community. Every uplifting moment included one of these amazing advocates, mothers and friends. These women and men inspired me, on days when I had nothing to be inspired about, they have believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and they have cheered me on during some of the most difficult of times. So today I honor them, those who stay up late, get up early, fight tirelessly, make us laugh and absolutely NEVER GIVE UP! Today I share a piece them with you, enjoy!
“I have been uplifted several times when I witness conditional love and support of each other in this food allergy world. The respect and grace of offering compassion, even when we don’t understand each other’s path, is breathtaking.”
“When my food allergy journey began 10 years ago, I felt completely alone. It wasn’t until I started blogging, that I began to find other individuals & bloggers who shared the same passion….. making the world better for themselves or someone they loved, creating delicious, safe food, & being an advocate for food allergies. These ladies, whom many have become friends, constantly inspire, motivate and encourage me daily. There is just something incredibly special about creating a community around you! “
“For 13 years, we have been a family managing multiple food allergies including anaphylaxis. We’ve lost and gained different allergies along the way. There have certainly been a few bumps, but I can honestly say they have been rare incidences. We have always been open in talking about our food allergy needs. Our pro-active approach includes offering yearly food allergy discussions at school, providing a list of possible alternatives and sharing our own treats whenever we can. Whether going to school, playing sports or just hanging out with friends and friends, I am continuously amazed and ‘uplifted’ at the kindness and willingness of others to help ensure our kids are kept safe and included. Food allergies haven’t stopped us from living.. it’s just helped us to navigate a little more carefully.”
“I am the type of person who looks for rainbows after a rainstorm and in the same way, I look for positive outcomes and progress in the food allergy world. I love to listen to researchers speak about the development of food allergy treatments because they give me hope. I am thrilled when read about an anaphylaxis savvy person saving someone’s life during a severe allergic reaction. I love talking with people to exchange ideas and strategies to help our loved ones to manage their lives with food allergies so they may thrive.”
“Food Allergies has led me on a roller coaster adventure of advocacy and awareness on so many levels! While there have been some terrifying and heartbreaking aspects of this journey, the path has also led me to a deeper understanding of the value of ALL lives, the humility of being fragile, the empowerment of a common cause, the pricelessness of a well informed community, and the awe of the strength of parenthood. I see victories everyday in the honest description of fear, anger and gratitude of FB posts, in the awakening faces of attendees of my training sessions, in the sacrifice of support group leaders, bloggers and speakers who travel away from home to learn and teach, in the empathy of a child who forgoes his sandwich to just be with a friend at lunch. When I look at the food allergy community I see the same theme over and over; we all want to be safe and to save others, we all want to be understood and understand, – Protection & Education, Advocacy & Awareness, Safety and Inclusion. I wouldn’t wish food allergies on my worst enemy. But I wouldn’t trade the lessons of the value of humanity for the world.”
“While managing food allergies for over a decade has definitely come with some challenges, it has also been uplifting in many ways. For example, largely because of food allergies, my family enjoys a safe, healthy, home-cooked meal together nearly every night. Unfortunately, this simple act is a rare occurrence for many families today. Not only has this given me the opportunity to find the joy in cooking and hone my cooking and baking skills, but it also ensures that we take time to reconnect and bond as a family each day.
Secondly, in dealing with their own food allergies, my children have developed a strong sense of empathy. I believe that empathy is one of the most important character traits one can have when it comes to navigating complicated issues. It has been heartening to see their kindness towards others manifest itself.
Last but not least, I am continually uplifted by the support of family, friends, the food allergy community, and members of my local community. Managing food allergies and even advocating for those with food allergies can seem daunting and quite isolating at times, but having a strong support network of people who care goes a really long way. My heart is warmed by everyone who makes an effort to ensure all kids are safe, included, and free to be kids.”
“Watching my children successfully advocate for themselves has been inspiring to me. They handle difficult, heavy topics and situations with grace and poise.”
“For me just the honor to be able to serve and be a part of this amazing movement to spread awareness and keep my allergen families safe. Love that I have built an allergen aware culture here at the South Point and look forward to continuing to lead the fight.”
Food Safety Manager/Asst Executive Chef
South Point Hotel Casino and Spa
“Once we learned about Rebecca’s nut allergy, we began the journey to educate ourselves and those around us about food allergies. This was extremely painful at times, both in grieving the loss of normalcy for Rebecca and also the lack of understanding and empathy in some people.
Through this difficult journey we developed a strong “transmission line” of sorts – one Food Allergy Parent to another. We are steel forged through fire. We understand each other like no one else can. Our journeys are often remarkably similar, especially when it comes to the Social Aspects of food allergies. And we are fierce defenders of each other, which is apparent in the online communities that serve Food Allergy Families.
Nothing compares with receiving a call or email from a Food Allergy Parent who just discovered that their child could safely participate because Rebecca’s Nut-Free products were available. The genuine sense of relief and gratitude conveyed is like a treasure; it makes me smile all day and gives me energy to continue on serving those with peanut and nut allergies through Rebecca’s Nut-Free.”
“What began as the most terrifying and overwhelming event of our lives turned into a blessing. Without my son’s food allergy diagnosis, our family would not have so much education about allergies and about our foods. I would have never found my own passion to help others. And we may never have been blessed with knowing that good people truly are still out there, always willing to help anyone who needs it.”
“Something that continues to uplift me on our food allergy journey is watching the empathy and understanding of those around us grow. As we work to raise awareness, our friends and loved ones have become so mindful and accommodating. “
~Aleasa M. Word
“As a coach I am honored to speak with many families and advocates. Seeing people continue to selflessly push education and awareness while showing love and compassion for others knowing how many are dealing with their own life’s challenges uplifts my spirit every day! We are a community of conquerors.”
“My oldest son’s food allergy diagnosis came as a shock to our family. Although I am a physician, I was frightened as to what this diagnosis meant in terms of his safety. I was concerned about him having an allergic reaction, that could lead to tragic consequences, both with me and while away from me.
At the time, he attended a daycare center. I alerted the management and staff of his recent diagnosis and they were amenable to my requests. One day, I entered his classroom to find him eating a cookie from an unlabeled plastic storage bag. The staff had no idea the type of cookie or the ingredients. I knew at that time that I needed to speak with the management about conducting food allergy training.
The director was very supportive and took many steps to keep my son, as well as other food allergic children, safe. Two measures proved to be vital. Firstly, she allowing me to bring in a nurse educator to train the entire staff and secondly she agreed with me that all the children with food allergies should have a readily accessible Food Allergy Action Plan.
One day I came to pick up my son and the staff ran to me and hugged me. Puzzled, I asked what had happened. They informed me that one of the children had a severe allergic reaction due to an unsafe food that was packed in her lunch accidentally. They immediately recognized her reaction, treated her with an epinephrine auto-injector according to her action plan, called 9-1-1 and then contacted her parents. When the emergency squad arrived, the toddler was not in distress. The paramedics praised the staff for their quick action and mentioned that they must have had many allergic reactions at the facility. The director replied that this was the first but thanks to a parent, they were prepared.
This experience showed me the importance of food allergy education, being proactive and preparation which initiated my commitment to helping people with food allergies as well as those who care for them.
It truly does take a village. Fortunately, by working together we can save lives.”
Love & Hugs,
***all opinions expressed are my own***