Parents Raise Awareness in Honor of Love Remembers Day
15 Million Americans live with life threatening food allergies. 6 million of them are children. In the 4th quarter of 2015, we lost quite a few people to life threatening food allergies which resulted in a condition called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life threatening allergic reaction that unfortunately has resulted in many deaths. It can be caused by foods, venom and even medications. It is disturbing to me, however, that something as simple as food we need to survive can be poisonous to a person and cause their airway to be cut off.
Living with this condition in my own home for many years and being a national advocate and educator has caused my family to understand the condition but to also see the devastation to other families if they lose a loved one. Though there are adults that lose their lives to food allergy induced anaphylaxis there are quite often children that become the victims. The numbers of deaths per year are scattered as unfortunately it is not always categorized in a way that we can track it. More recently we will see stories in the news when someone suffers a loss of life to the food allergy induced condition. Flowers for Anaphylaxis™, my grassroots organization saw a need to support the families that are grieving from loss of their relative or severe brain injury. In 2014, Love Remembers Day™ was born in an effort to shed light not only on food allergies but the potential consequences if left untreated or treated to late. Parents become pretty good at managing the condition for their children, but not without criticism and jokes sometimes that can be harmful at worst and hurtful at best.
When asked what they wanted people to know about living with this condition and raising kids here’s what they said:
“When you say, instead of cupcakes, the children with food allergies will eat an apple, those children hear you are not worthy enough, you will eat…. Please choose items that include all children (disease or not).” – Caroline M., Nevada
“A person with a food allergy could DIE with one bite. When I hear the phone ring or hear an ambulance, I pray that it doesn’t regard my 7 year old.” – Jen F.
“Every morning I drop him (my 10yr old son with a lethal class six peanut/nut allergy) at school, I make sure to remind him to be safe, have fun and that I love him… And then I drive away expertly hiding any sign of the lump in my throat, racing heart and nauseous stomach. The fear and worry never leaves, it just becomes part of life.” – Elizabeth F. , Wisconsin
“One bite of the “wrong” food and my child experiences a life threatening allergic reaction , ANAPHYLAXIS. Will an epi-pen be enough to save her life? That’s my balancing act. – Susan K, New York”
“What if it was your child? Just think about ALL children. I know as a mother, my child comes first, but shouldn’t all children be HAPPY AND SAFE?” – Jami L., Illinois”
“..That we are not overprotective… We are ever mindful that this may be the last day with our child. We never know when an allergic reaction will happen and if our child will survive.” Mary M., Texas
“This is not a made-up game we are playing. It is my daughter’s life and yes, exposure, not just ingestion can kill her.” – Jean Marie, North Dakota
On a final note, I want to add my own thoughts about what I’d like for people to know. Truly food allergic persons did not choose to be in this situation. They are diagnosed with a disease that sometimes tests the very logic of even those in the medical profession responsible for diagnosing them. This can be a very unpredictable disease and often times presents symptoms differently in each person. Much like other diseases, it is possible for some to grow out of the allergies; however, with 15 million people having it we know not all of them will. Just as none of us choose things like cancer, diabetes, sickle cell, autism or a host of other things, it is a diagnosis we simply have to deal with when it comes whether is makes sends to us or not. Though some have felt it has affected the unaffected in places like schools, restaurants and even at sporting events. When wheelchair accessibility became required, people had a tough time with it too though it was not the fault of the disabled. In this case many people qualify for a disability, though hidden and again there will be times where accommodation must be made.
As time progresses, none of us are immune from health conditions that could potentially affect our world. It is days like Love Remembers that we can join together allergic and non-allergic in unity to help support each other and respect one another while we offer care to those who have lost their children. As parents we want to educate others but also allow others to know we care about your loved ones as well.
Please join us for activities March 28-29 and visit our site for more information at Flowers for Anaphylaxis™. For statistical data, education and advocacy solutions the following non-profits that support #LoveRemembers2015 FAACT, FARE, Kids with Food Allergies and more can help.