Thank you

I wanted to write and thank publicly all of those who contributed time, energy, and passion to the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference this past weekend.  The gratitude I feel is intense and humbling.  I hugged so many people so many times I am guessing it will come as a surprise that I am an introvert by nature but without going into detail about my life so far, to have friends is something that never stops feeling surreal.

FABlogCon Stage
FABlogCon Stage

I sat yesterday in a meeting in the catering department with Rich Niederman, Jenny Sprague, and Maureen Robinson.  Rich and Maureen are part of the stellar South Point Hotel team that believe in our event.  They are old Vegas in the best possible way, classy and professional but with a sense of humor.  Rich spoke to us about how wonderful all our attendees were, how sitting with them was like sitting with a mom in a pick up line at school or talking to a fellow parent at a PTA meeting.  No pretense, no games, just good people.

Dr. Stukus addresses a panel audience
Dr. Stukus addresses a panel audience

I feel so proud.  Proud of all of you and this generation of the food allergy community.  One that collaborates and builds people up.  I told Maureen and Rich the story of Ritesh Patel’s allergy bracelet (also check out his videos from the event!).  How the idea came at last year’s conference and he made it a reality.  How the product would save lives.  How this gem of a human being was connecting people at the event and even talking about collaborating with sites like Freedible and Online Allergies with his product.  He wasn’t just creating something to sell to the food allergy community, he was lifting all boats with the rising tide of innovation.

Chef Jamie and Chef Darren made our wonderful food
Chef Jamie and Chef Darren made our wonderful food

Rich also mentioned that he used all of your blogs and the resources out there online to understand food allergies and serving those that deal with them.  The words you write make a difference!  Information is our best antidote to fear.  Chef Jamie Poltrock and Chef Darren Walters made the wonderful recipes used this year and, combined with Chef Keith Norman’s food safety training, the whole staff at the South Point were great at accommodating special diets.

Chef Chris Johns
Chef Chris Johns

Thank you also to Chef Chris Johns, I think the whole cupcake decorating breakout session was surprised when he stopped in to do some frosting piping!

Jenny Sprague and Lynda Mitchell
Jenny Sprague and Lynda Mitchell (photo by Isaac Easley)

Thank you to Jenny for allowing me to be a part of your vision two years in a row.  The universe may have made us food allergy moms, but I am so glad to call you my friend.

Image by Mary Fran Wiley
Image by Mary Fran Wiley

Special thanks to volunteers who included Barbra Konrad, Rebecca Sherrow, Imelda Patag, Jodi Bourquin, Sonja Braunlich, Kim Pebley and family, Laura Arango, Assly Sayyar, Ivette Reyes, Alyssa Morrisey, Vigil Beth Rapiz, Elyse Hahne, Minhja Nguyen, Alison Johnson and Selena Bluntzer.  Each and every one of these individuals went above and beyond when they had many other things in their lives demanding their time and attention.  Erin Collins came to my house the week before the event and loaned me so many of her dresses, I may have to find more events to go to just to take them each for a spin before I get them back to her.

Swag bag stuffing
Swag bag stuffing

Thank you to Sarah Chapman and Brynn Hadler – Sarah and her husband attended all the way from England and Brynn flew in from her home in Australia.  Knowing this was a worthwhile event for you means a lot.  Sarah remarked that hearing Dr. Li speak about her research in food allergy was “like Harry Potter” because it may as well be magic for the hope it gives.  I’m with you, Sarah!

Cheryl Viirand, Joel Warady, and me
Cheryl Viirand, Joel Warady, and me

Getting to thank people like Joel Warady of Enjoy Life, Lynda Mitchell of KFA, and Dave Bloom of Snack Safely for their continued commitments to food allergy, to shake their hands and let them know what the work they do means is such a treat.

Jenny Sprague and Elisa Camahort
Jenny Sprague and Elisa Camahort

Meeting Elisa Camahort and Robyn O’Brien gave me “pinch me” moments where I might as well have been dreaming.  Same with meeting fantastic attorney advocate Mary Vargas and seeing Laurel Francoeur for a second year.  You ladies are making such an impact!

Linda Coss and Robyn O'Brien
Linda Coss and Robyn O’Brien (photo by Isaac Easley)

Jerome Bettis’ speech about how celebrity offers him the platform to help others rang so genuine and true.  I helped people take pictures with Mr. Bettis with their cell phones (we have photos from our awesome photographer Issac Easley coming in two weeks!) and he smiled warmly to every single person he met, it was a treat to see.

Jerome Bettis and Ritesh Patel
Jerome Bettis and Ritesh Patel

I want to mention everyone here but I would literally be mentioning everyone but suffice to say, if there was ever a reason to stick around on this world besides my family, it would be all of you.  I can’t wait to see what you achieve and the positive light you each continue to bring with you.  (Annelies, I can’t wait for your book about cooking with tea!)

My fellow legal panelists, my sister Assly Sayyar and my dear friend William Devine were a treat to work with – thank you!

My children – you are such troopers, I have to apologize for being so busy this year with the opening of my firm in January and the build up to the conference all year.  Mommy will try to put the phone and laptop away when we play together, I promise.

Thank you note to me from E
Thank you note to me from E

My husband – thank you for your help and especially for giving me that much needed push to go to dinner Sunday night after we finished packing up the cars with conference materials.  I needed to remember what it was like to turn off conference mode after a long year and just be.

By the Bellagio fountains
By the Bellagio fountains

I had so many meaningful conversations with so many people (Tricia Gavankar, Sharon Wong, Cybele Pascal, Erica Dermer, Mary Fran Wiley, Henry Ehrlich, Drew Aveling, Jessica Martin, Colette Martin, the list goes on!) and hope the dialogue keeps going with all of you.

Opening night panorama
Opening night panorama

Thank you, thank you, thank you!    

14 thoughts on “Thank you

  1. Homa, thank you so much for everything you’ve given to make this event happen! It was such a wonderful event and I am so proud of you and Jenny!! This even will make our community better and stronger as we seek to make a difference for our communities now and in future generations. Congratulations on a job well done. What a lovely thank you but you deserve many thanks!

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  2. THANK YOU Homa. To think that we connected on twitter such a while ago over cereal. I really appreciate your generous spirit and the upbeat attitude you continued to reveal over the course of the weekend, even with all of the details that needed to be tended to, your sweet family getting a taste of all the work you poured into Fabcon, and making sure each person felt included. You are such a bright light.

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  3. Congrats, Homa! Sounds like the conference was a huge success, yet again! Wish I could have been there, and will certainly see if I can make it next year. Thanks so much for all or your hard work. -Heddi

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  4. Many thanks to you, your husband and your son for a wonderful weekend! The jet lag on returning to Australia was certainly intense, but still very much worth it!

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