Separate is indeed not equal! Food allergies & bullying. |-o-|


I haven’t blogged about food allergies lately, so it’s time.  Luckily the other day, a great post popped up in Google Reader, with a striking headline:  We Have Come Too Far To Forget, Separate Is Not Equal

I happen to consider the author Thanita a Twitter friend, and a proud member of the #FoodAllergyMomArmy.  It’s got a great message.  Obviously the first thing it brings to mind is racism, but it can now be applied to any group facing discrimination.

As I’ve said before… I’d like to see any changes brought forth from a consumer side of view, not a legislative one.  When we’re dealing with schools, parents really need to get involved and not just the parents of the food-allergic children.  Legislation in this area may be the best answer as far as schools are concerned.  After all, it’s a gub’ment institution, right?  (Things like the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act are extremely important to protect food-allergic kids, as well as any that may have reactions to thinks like latex or bee stings.  Pennsylvania now seems like it’s on top of things.)

All in all, some earnest thinking about the whole thing will bring forth a hopefully easy decision:

When other parents tell the family of the anaphylactic child to just “home-school, it’s safer, we’re looking out for your best interest”, it’s a joke. Separate Is Not Equal.

When a child is forced to peer over a sea of smiling, laughing, socializing children, all the while sitting on a separate table alone, “for his/her safety”, it’s Separate and Not Equal.

We have to ask ourselves, how far have WE come since the 1950’s? Would we be doing this to a child with autism? To a child in a wheelchair? To a child with dark skin? If the answer is never, then do not do it to a child with an anaphylactic disability.

Think about that.  There’s a lot of buzz about bullying lately, & it certainly falls on food-allergic kids.  For an example, read this awesome article by another #FoodAllergyMomArmy member and cool Twitter friend Libby about bullying: Bullies, Food Allergies and The Force

This is heavy:

By the way, just one mistake can be fatal. Have I mentioned the shocking levels of stress in parents of children with food allergies?

So this morning I dressed my son in one of his Star Wars t-shirts and talked to him about Katie and how it’s ok to be different and not ok to tease or bully someone else. I packed an allergen free lunch, gave him hugs and kisses, told him I loved him and sent him off to school with a prayer that he would come home safely, something I never take for granted.

To the kids with food allergies and their parents, may the force be with you. You’re going to need it.

One mistake can be fatal.  Let’s all help make sure it doesn’t come to that.  These food allergy moms & dads (& brothers & sisters, etc.) are badass, I tell you.  It takes courage to muster up the confidence to put together a safe plan for your kid(s), and to be strong for them when you probably just want to break down & cry about it yourself sometimes.

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

Prevent Bullying

It’s up to all of you reading to inform schools, restaurants, and everyone that you’re not going to exclude yourself or your kids from society or live in fear from your food allergy.  It’s up to you to be ever-vigilant and cautious, but it’s all so up to you to not back down or let your kids be ostracized for being different.

Now, where can I get an Epi-pen case that looks like a lightsaber?

Lightsaber

Ridiculous Amount of Food Allergy Crap This Week


This week blew up on Twitter as far as food allergies.  So much went by that I wanted to promote, comment on, blog about, or whatever… but I didn’t get to any of it.  Oh well.  There are others out there… writing, educating, & commenting.  So… if you’re interested & you can keep up, here’s a run-down of stuff that you need to see:

First off, the ridiculousness with food allergy protesters in Edgewater, FL:

And, then, all the rest…

  • NY PIX 11 | FOOD ALLERGY WEEKIt was Food Allergy Awareness Week for WPIX TV 11 in New York. Awesome.  There’s a plethora of incredible content available here: NY PIX 11 | Food Allergy Week – I still haven’t made my way through all of it.  Looks like they’re covering all the angles though… form safety at restaurants and schools, to personal profiles, to cooking, to businesses helping out with allergy needs, to dealing with it mentally, to research, to legislation.  I really applaud the drive & effort… and hope other news stations across the country pick up on this!
  • Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies is out, & I finally got a copy.  Just started reading, and I hope to eventually blog a review.  Bonus: Author Sloane Miller got her own segment in the aforementioned WPIX Food Allergy Week!
  • I read this essay from Keith at the FAAN website, and was quite moved: FAAN Community | First Reaction in 14 Years.  Want to know what anaphylaxis feels like?  It’s worth reading, and shows the importance of vigilance in reading labels, education, carrying an epi pen, and staying calm.  Write to your state governor and the President with FAAN’s help, & ask them to support Food Allergy Awareness Week 2011!
  • Quiznos has a lobster sub?  Ugh.  Disgusting.  I still hate Lent.
  • The Allergy Ninja has arrived to give support to the #FoodAllergyMomArmy, and  I bet (& hope) he’s up to no good.

Am I missing something?  I feel like I’m missing something.

Oh yeah.  I need to update my links.  Have a blog that I should be linking to?  Let me know!

The #FoodAllergyMomArmy


So, if you follow me on twitter, you may have seen me use an odd hashtag; #FoodAllergyMomArmy

“What’s a Food Allergy Mom Army“, you ask?  It’s what happens when you ask your twitter friends about air travel and Epi Pens.  I was served with an onslaught of what would later become known as nagtweets, demanding that I get a 2nd Epi Pen, and that I carry it on the plane, not in my luggage.  Most all of my replies were from moms of kids with food allergies, some with food allergies themselves.  Even though I bet we’re around the same age, I had an instant army of adopted moms looking out for my well-being.

I’ve received advice  & support on food allergies from other sources on the web, but they’ve increased exponentially since I’ve joined Twitter.  Now, I use twitter to keep in contact with other friends, and to follow fun stuff like music, Star Wars, Fringe, & local Pittsburgh stuff… but it’s definitely my go-to resource for Food Allergy support.  That’s support on many levels… whether it’s information, advice, or sympathy.

So, if you’re on Twitter, and you have food allergies, check out my allergies list, and the #FoodallergyMomArmy will eventually make themselves known.   (Maybe the’ll even comment here.)