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

Still taking donations for the Food Allergy Walk


90% towards my goal of $500!

90% towards my goal of $500!

That’s right, Bethany & I are still taking donations for the Food Allergy Walk in  Pittsburgh.  It’s happening this Sunday, Sept. 18th at 11:00 am.  You can make a secure online tax-deductible donation for either of us, to help us meet our prospective goals, or you can hook us up with a check made out to FAAN.

Support me!
Support me!

Just click the blue “Support Me” button under each of our photos on our respective profiles to donate!

You can read my older posts about the walk for more info:

If you’re following the “Celebrity Endorsement” thing, Andrew Stockey did eventually contact me & agree to help get the word out on WTAE.com.  I still haven’t’ seen anything there yet.

Interestingly, Qdoba & Chick-fil-A also said they’d donate something, yet they haven’t online yet anyway.  I’m going to have to remind them.

You can also read all of my Food Allergy related posts if interested in learning more about food allergies form an outspoken crazy blogger.

More from the Food Allergy Walk Facebook Page

The Walk in Pittsburgh will feature lots activities, such as: face painting, balloon artist, trackless train, mad science and inflatables. We will have a musical performance by Kyle Dine and be joined by Pittsburgh Panthers mascot ROC.

We look forward to once again welcoming Sally Wiggin and Stephen Cropper. Following the Walk, will be Q&A session with allergists from AGH and UPMC who have volunteered their time. Rep. Matt Smith will join us to share information about the new EpiPen laws in PA.

You can get one of these limited edition T-shirts for donating $50 or more, thanks to Erin “Ernie” Payne:

King Krab Orange Ernie and the Berts T-Shirt
Special Edition King Krab Orange Ernie and the Berts T-Shirt

Food Allergy Walk Pittsburgh – Sept. 18th, 2011!


I read about this a while ago, and kind of put it in the back of my mind, and now it’s snuck up on me again. Being a food allergy advocate (or annoyance depending on your point of view) of sorts, I really ought to go to this.

I was excited to see this article today via the Food Allergy DailyFAAN Walk for Food Allergy: Moving Toward A Cure Coming Back to Pittsburgh

This especially caught my attention:

The Walk is a non-competitive 2-mile course and participation is free. Families can enjoy samples from allergen-free food vendors, music and children’s activities. Joining us this year will be Sally Wiggin (WTAE-TV), and singer and songwriter Kyle Dine (http://kyledine.com), to educate and entertain with his songs about food allergies.

FAAN Walk For Food Allergy Logo

FoodAllergyWalk.org

Kyle Dine rules! Kyle is also a soldier in the #FoodAllergyDudeArmy (a covert special ops branch of the #FoodAllergyMomArmy) on Twitter.  Of course, Sally Wiggin is also a local legend.  The walk is taking place at Hartwood Acres.

At any rate… I know there are many many walks for many many reasons, but I see this as an opportunity to do something other than whine about food allergies on the internet and send restaurants annoying (and hopefully entertaining) emails about deathfish.

The article above also drops these fascinating facts:

Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting and the CDC reports that food allergies result in over 300,000 ambulatory care visits each year among children. Eight foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, etc.), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Food allergy afflicts one in 25 Americans overall, and one in 17 under age 3.

The official FAAN page for Pittsburgh is here:  FoodAllergyWalk.org | 2011 Walk in Pittsburgh, PA

I’ll sign up to walk as an individual, or I can put together a team if anyone’s interested.  The individual suggested goal is $300.  The suggested team goal is $1,500.00.

So, here’s where I ask for help.  Does anyone want to donate, or walk with me?

Think “Team Deathfish” sounds like a good name?

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.)