I’d like to once again say thank you from the whole family to everyone who took the time to spread the word, and especially those who were able to make a donation to support us in the Pittsburgh FARE Walk for Food Allergy this year!
We had a great day with so many others affected in some way by a food allergy or multiple food allergies. It’s really nice to know that we’re not alone, and that we all have the support of family and friends to enable us to get to the walk and work to make a difference in all of our lives.
Upon arrival, we did many things in a special event tent before the opening ceremony. Several “top-8-free” food samples & small toys were handed out. The kids colored some food allergy related pictures, decorated some foam teal pumpkins, made a beaded necklace & bracelet (Ian even threaded some beads all by himself!), danced with a DJ, played with masks in a photo booth, and just mingled with people who “get” it.
Molly also had an EMT help her wrap “Miss Daisy” (a stuffed bunny/dog/thing that was Bethany’s when she was little) in some gauze bandages, apply a regular band-aid, and administer a practice EpiPen auto-injector with the Teddy Bear Clinic. She did really good! She may need to help me or any of her friends some day.
We listened to a speech by that very same brave young lady about her struggles she has had as someone with 15 allergies that can all lead to anaphylaxis. More important than the struggles are the many things she has learned to overcome, the incredible friends she has made, and how well she has learned to adapt while moving away from home and going to school at Pitt. She has used an EpiPen, and it has saved her life. She leads a normal active life and is dedicating it to service to others by being an EMT!
Along our walk, there were many food allergy facts on signs throughout the zoo. We used them to start conversations with the kids about how Molly has outgrown her allergy to eggs, how I will not outgrow mine, and how they will probably have a few friends in school with food allergies and that they need to be good friends to those kids and help them avoid their allergens and get the proper help quickly if needed!
It’s amazing that last year Molly knew at 2 years old to ask if a food item contained things like eggs, mayonnaise, or ranch dressing. She understands now that daddy can’t eat shellfish. She even pointed out the (incredibly creepy spiny) lobsters in the aquarium & said “You can’t eat that.” I know Ian is a bit young to understand, but I don’t think it hurts to throw all the information out there and see what eventually sticks.
In the zoo, we had the incredible opportunity to get a photo with Victoria the elephant, pet (and get liked by) a deer, and pet some goats and sheep. Ian loved the peacock roaming around, and I think he almost touched him. Ha ha. We also talked about how similar yet different Butterscotch is to all the big cats among many other animal facts that we have read in books & on the signage there in the park.