Day 30 — FARE: Food Allergy Research and Education
Improving the quality of life and health of individuals who have food allergies
Photo courtesy of Evan Lorne/Shutterstock.com
Last night we received one of the calls that every parent of a child with food allergies is afraid of receiving. It was from the summer camp our son had spent the afternoon at. They were calling to let us know that during camp, the children did an activity with cookies that looked like Oreos. They discovered afterwards that the cookies had a food allergen warning on the label that they had been unaware of. The call, from the program director, was to let parents know this had happened and to check on the children to make sure none of them had had an allergic reaction after arriving home.
Receiving a call like this is difficult to process. First there is relief that our child didn’t have any reaction and is safe. Then there is anger at the camp and at the people who handed him the cookies. There is guilt from questioning whether we put him in the care of untrustworthy people. Finally, there is fear that this could happen again. We are left questioning if we should we send him back to camp the next day.
It’s very difficult for us to leave our son in the care of people we don’t know well. We must trust that they have been educated on food allergies and know what steps need to be taken to keep our son, and others like him, safe. We have taught him to self-advocate and ask if new foods are safe. When it’s something familiar, like an Oreo cookie, he might forget to ask since he knows those are safe. What he didn’t know is that these weren’t the Oreo brand. Knowing that was the job of the people in charge of this camp.
In honor of our son, and all other children with life threatening food allergies, today’s act of kindness is a donation to FARE. FARE stands for Food Allergy Research and Education, and FARE’s mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. This organization has built a community of support for people who struggle with this issue, and it provides a safe space for people to educate themselves with the most recent, and accurate, information available. I found myself on FARE's website often when we first found out about how food allergies would become a huge part of our lives. It was an invaluable resource for our family. Hopefully, FARE's continued advocation will help keep people safe and, eventually, lead to a cure and eradication of this condition.
Learn more about the reason behind Maureen's 43 days of kindness blog idea here.