We had a great time walking this year at The District for the 2012 FAAN Walk for Food Allergy! This was our second year participating and I have to say the turnout and number of booths seemed higher than 2011. I also had more fun not only because of the fantastic friends that joined our family team (thank you Janelle and Erin!) but because of the new friends that I had made in the last year or so that were part of the event.
I volunteered at the FAPE Booth briefly when I arrived and luckily the kids were still in awe of the crowds that they stayed by me until we were free to do some booth visiting of our own. FAPE is our local Food Allergy Parent Education group. I’d actually filled out my info at last year’s walk on their sign in sheet but for some reason was not able to follow up until a couple months ago. A friend of mine that also has a daughter with food allergies was raving about a FAPE event and I knew I had to try getting in touch with them again. I’m so glad I did! We’ve (since the October 6, 2012 FAAN walk) had the chance to join other families dealing with food allergies for a food free Halloween trick or treat event. They had a pirate magician entertain the kids and then after some mingling we walked around the track at Reunion Trails Park to trick or treat for little toys. Debbie, the founder, did a fantastic job! I am hoping to become more active with the group because I remember all to well the early days of isolation that came with the food allergy diagnosis. Which actually leads me to the next friend I was able to see at the walk…
Caroline of Grateful Foodie! This was our first time meeting but we’ve talked on the phone (the day of the Nevada Legislative Committee on Healthcare meeting) and emailed a lot – she lives in Reno, Nevada but came down to Vegas for the walk and even had her own booth. She’s also the co-leader of their AAPE group up north. Since the walk her blog actually achieved top honors in the Circle of Moms 2012 Food Allergy Mom competition!
My husband and I were pretty excited to snag samples and coupons from Enjoy Life, we actually popped into the Whole Foods across the street from The District after the walk to stock up on Enjoy Life’s Flax Cereal and Granola.
E, being 4 this year, was so excited leading up to and including the day of the walk. She loves knowing that she is not alone and an event where the snacks being handed out are safe for her is always a big win. We made sure to write individual thank you cards to those that made donations of their time and/or money to support our team – I want my children to know that there are wonderful people on their side hoping the best for them. I feel like as a mother coping with food allergies in her home I spent the first year or so post-diagnosis figuring out what we could eat but since starting this blog and connecting with other families online I’ve found myself embracing advocacy outside of my own small circles.
To experience something 365 days a year and then for a few brief hours gather with others to aim for a cause greater than ourselves is a special thing. The local FAAN walk organizers, Dana and Duane Gordin, do so much work behind the scenes to make the event a success but even beyond that they work during the year to put money raised to crucial use in areas such as the Clark County School District. In August I received an email from the Gordins announcing that this year money generated by FAAN ($30,000) went “to train and guide all 15,000 CCSD personnel in proactive food allergy management.” On September 13, 2012 an amendment to district regulation 5150 went through allowing that epinephrine be stored in a secure but unlocked location, removing a dangerous time barrier to retrieving life saving epinephrine injectors. Duane Gordin made persuasive remarks before the school board voted. There is as yet another hurdle in the form of NRS 392.425 so there is more work to be done but each step forward is great news! Their sons’ middle school principal was honored recently for her efforts to help those with food allergies and they have also helped the district implement training policies to raise awareness. Please watch both parts of the interview with the Gordin family that appeared on October 25th on our local news here, there’s some footage from this year’s walk included!
When Dana talks in part one of the interview about her son touching a book and then touching his eye and experiencing a reaction to trace amounts of peanut butter she especially had my attention because recently E had a reaction from touching a library book and then her eye. Luckily we were able to use her antihistamine the moment we noticed the rash and I don’t know what the specific trigger was but as Duane mentions in the video, you don’t know if a reaction will just be a rash or much worse next time. Dana made sure that leading up to this year’s walk I had a full ingredient list of the face paints being used by the free face painter in case E wanted to have her face painted. The line ended up being too long for us but I was able to assure a fellow mom and friend that her own daughter could take part since the girls have similar allergies.
I wanted to thank all the supporters, walkers, and people who spread the word about how we can protect those that suffer from food allergies. It is fantastic to see non-profits taking funds raised by the community and using it in that same community but that doesn’t happen without the hard work of people like Debbie with FAPE, Caroline with AAPE, and the Gordins who spearhead organization of the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy. I always appreciate their e-mail updates and calls to action – it is amazing that what unites us as parents of children with food allergies that it is not enough to just protect our own children, we all share a drive to make others feel safe, included, and to make inroads to improved awareness and accommodation.
Thank you so much to Devin, mom and baker extraordinaire, at Nom Yum & Free for inviting me to be featured in her post “Happy Halloween: A Tiny Trick but a Big Nice Treat” – two other (new to me) bloggers are included as well and I look forward to exploring their posts! I also can’t wait to read Devin’s teased recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes.
And a happy belated 3rd birthday to VegBooks.org! To celebrate, Jessica has put together some wonderful book selections for three year olds. My latest review (All the Awake Animals…) is also up, feel free to click over and offer your own bedtime book suggestions!