Think of the foods you ate as a child. Did your CareBears lunchbox hold a PB&J, every day? Maybe your mom packed you a thermos of chicken noodle soup on cold, winter days. Did your dad toss in a bag of chips? Maybe a Snickers bar as a treat?
Now imagine if any one of those items could kill you.
For millions of kids (and adults) across America, those simple, common, school lunches could be fatal.
Eight percent of children in the U.S. have food allergies. Thats 1 in every 13 kids. Or two kids per classroom. That’s a lot. Avery is one of those kids, and it is scary.
She is allergic to strawberries and tomato–not an uncommon allergy for babies. It’s one that kids can outgrow, but my biological mother was also allergic and it was the only piece of medical history she felt important enough to include, so we aren’t holding our breath.
We’ve found that people don’t always take Avery’s allergy seriously. They say “Oh, my cousin had that, no big deal, she’ll grow out of it.” Or “Well, she only gets a rash, so it’s not that bad, right?” Wrong. It started with a rash on her cheeks, the first time she had trace amounts of tomato sauce. The next exposure was to strawberries and the rash was more red, and spread further on her face, it was a much more “angry” rash. The third (and accidental) exposure the rash was all over her chest and belly. So the reaction is getting worse with every exposure, as happens with many allergies. And, she doesn’t even have to consume the berries or tomatoes in order to react. If a friend is eating strawberries and holds hands with Avery, she will have a reaction. (we suspect this is what happened at a recent party) We aren’t taking any chances and make sure to read EVERYTHING (It’s amazing how many items contained tomato, or strawberry-even if it is not obvious from the label.) While we hope that she grows out of this, I still need to be vigilant and do everything I can to protect her, and I want to do what I can to help other kids who also have food allergies.
(Let me also add, we have some friends who take it very seriously and always make sure their kiddos snacks are tomato and strawberry free when we have play-dates together! Huge THANK YOU to those friends!!)
We found out about the FARE Walk for Food Allergy at Ft Adams-Newport, through a friend whose two children have some severe allergies to things like eggs, peanuts, cherries and even watermelon! As soon as I saw her post about it on Facebook I knew I wanted to join her team! In a very short time we raised $100 through the donations of some very generous friends, and added that to our team total of nearly $600!
The Newport, Rhode Island walkers-over 150 strong–raised almost $30,000 for research and education!! Isn’t that incredible?!
Here are a few photos from the walk!
The day started out rainy, but that wasn’t going to stop us!!
Just before the walk started, the rain let up, and blue sky started peeking through!
Posing, before the walk with the “Big Boat!”
“I’m ready to go mommy!!”
I really loved this team’s “Tricky Treat?” shirts! Urging parents to check EVERY label!
Avery and I had a great day raising funds, spreading awareness, and hanging out with friends! We can’t wait for next years walk!
FARE is still taking donations on their website www.foodallergywalk.org up until December 31st. Please, if you can, make a donation to help kids, like Avery, who have food allergies!!