Posts filed under News & Awareness

Food Allergy Awareness Week 2014

Image courtesy of FARE

Image courtesy of FARE

Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) is next week, May 11th through the 17th! Mark your calendars and make a plan to engage, educate, support, and share just a little bit more. I just wanted to get a quick and straightforward post out there to help give you ideas and resources on ways you can participate next week. You can spend as much or as little time getting involved as you want, but everyone can do something. Push yourself to see how far your efforts can reach! 

You can read about what my plans are in my guest blog post for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) and check out how I participated last year for even more ideas. 

You should also absolutely visit FAACT's and FARE's websites for more information on FAAW. Both organizations have put together incredible ideas and resources to help you raise awareness. FARE also recently declared May as Food Allergy Action Month and has even provided an awesome Action Month Calendar to help you get involved. You can also check out their newly released infographic below to learn more about food allergies.

Infographic courtesy of FARE

Infographic courtesy of FARE

I would love to hear what your plans are for FAAW! Please share them in the comment section below! 

Mylan Blogger's Summit 2014, Part II

I recently posted Mylan Blogger's Summit 2014, Part I and promised to follow up with all of the juicy details of the day. :-) The Summit was truly inspiring and incredibly educational. With that said, let's jump right in!

The day was filled with interactive conversations and brainstorming on how to spread food allergy and anaphylaxis awareness. We discussed everything from the most recent news on stock epi legislation to the most recent food allergy research as presented by the nationally known food allergy expert, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, to methods of increasing our communication skills to ensure that we are effective advocates for the food allergy community. 

  • Tony Mauro, President of Mylan North America, kicked things off. I was very impressed by the vision that he presented for Mylan. What stood out to me the most was Mylan's commitment to quality and availability and the company's ever increasing focus on patient solutions. He mentioned, "Our Mylan is Your Mylan," multiple times. This commitment and focus, in my opinion, is demonstrated by the fact that they brought advocates in the food allergy community together for this valuable Summit. 
  • Sherry Korczynski, Vice President, Epi-Pen Marketing for Mylan also spoke, giving us all a brand update. She went over all of the features of the My EpiPlan App which was recently launched by Mylan. I recently reviewed this app and must say, it is a great piece of technology to have with you at all times on your phone. I highly recommend downloading it. Mylan has also launched a new ad campaign for EpiPen which is already in print in various magazines. We were able to see a recent copy in Women's Day magazine and it has a very fresh, modern look. "Life happens. Be prepared." I love this because it is so true. The most important thing we can do as mothers of children with food allergies is be prepared. We can take every precaution but we still need to be prepared for a reaction. For our family, that means taking our EpiPens with us wherever we go and making sure they are accessible and easy to find. I love this particular ad (see below) because it says, "Baseball games happen. Be prepared." We recently took our daughters to their first baseball game, so this ad hit home to me. A post on our baseball game experience is forthcoming so please stay tuned. :-) We also went over the EpiPens4Schools Program in which 32,000 schools have participated (Wha-Whooo!). This program enables qualifying schools to receive four FREE EpiPen auto-injectors. Schools are also now able to receive the EpiLocker which can be mounted to a wall for EpiPen safekeeping and storage. It is bright yellow and would be incredibly easy to spot in the event of an emergency. Also, EpiPen brochures, instructions for use, both print and CDs/DVDs are now being distributed in Spanish! 
  • Bruce Lott, Vice President, State Government Relations for Mylan then gave us an update regarding stock epi legislation across the U.S. Ten states have passed school legislation since the beginning of 2014 including Ohio! Great job Ohio! We are making progress across the U.S.!
  • Dr. Ruchi Gupta also presented recent food allergy research updates. 8% of children have food allergy which equates to roughly 1 out of 13 kids or 2 in every classroom. Of those children with food allergy, 30% were allergic to multiple foods. The most common food allergen is peanuts, followed by milk, shellfish, tree nuts, egg, fin fish, wheat, and soy. Another point of discussion that I found interesting involved patient satisfaction with physician care. Dr. Gupta presented that patient satisfaction drops on the allergy management side and that many patients felt that they leave their doctor's office without a clear plan. It is so important to have an allergy action plan! As parents of patients, we must be proactive in our children's medical care. Don't leave the doctor's office with unanswered questions! You need to know what to do in the event of a mild OR server reaction.
  • Michael Tringale, Vice President, External Affairs, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America gave an advocacy update and presented resources available on AAFA  to enable us to become better advocates and educators.  
  • Becky Fry, Training Specialist, American Red Cross gave an update on the new Anaphylaxis and Epinephrine Auto-Injector online training course that is being offered by the American Red Cross. It is so exciting that the American Red Cross is recognizing the need for epinephrine auto-injector training. That said, there was a lot of discussion regarding what information to present and how to present it in the training module. We also discussed the importance of including the training as a mandatory segment in the organization's other training courses including the Baby Sitter training, First Aid and CPR. I must say, the new course is also very hard to find on the website. Ms. Fry was very receptive to all of our suggestions and they were acknowledged by her colleagues at American Red Cross via email before she left for the day. Positive change in progress!  
  • Alison May Rosen, 3D Communications led a communication skills workshop to help us increase our effectiveness when relaying a message during a presentation. She had so many great pointers, but the few that stood out to me the most that we can all use whether giving a formal presentation or just conversing in an informal setting: "Anytime you speak, it matters;" "Know your headline before you start to talk;" "Perfect practice makes perfect;" and "Keep it simple, conversational and moving." 
  • We were able to close out the day with a Q&A with Dr. Gupta. Of course, we were all very excited to get more time with her. One thing that we discussed as we closed is that hormones, elevated seasonal allergies, and exercise can all have an impact on reactions and testing results. This was a valuable takeaway for me because although I knew that exercise could increase the severity of a reaction, I did not know that hormones and/or a seasonal allergy flareup could affect testing results. 

Comparatively speaking, I am still fairly new to the food allergy community. I was incredibly humbled to be in the presence of such amazing advocates. These are women I have been following since my daughter's diagnosis. I am so grateful to all of them. Every single one of them.

My whole goal and purpose in writing at nutfreemomma is that I might be that woman, source of support and advocate for someone else.

For a full list of attendees and their corresponding websites, check out my first post on the Summit - Mylan Blogger's Summit 2014, Part I


I disclose in any communication made by me about EpiPen (epinephrine) Auto-Injector and/or the Mylan Specialty Blogger Summit that such communication is at my own discretion and based on my own opinion. I also disclose that my travel expenses were compensated by Mylan Specialty in exchange for evaluation and feedback on information presented during the meeting. 

Posted on April 24, 2014 and filed under News & Awareness.

Mylan Blogger's Summit 2014, Part I

I am still on a (natural) high. The kind that makes you giddy, elated, determined, inspired, happy and ready to take on the world. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Mylan Blogger's Summit. Mylan is the maker of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. epinephrine auto-injectors. I had to pinch myself several times to make sure I wasn't dreaming while sharing a room with the most amazingly smart and influential food allergy advocates and mommas from across the country. What a truly incredible opportunity. I am beyond thankful to Mylan and Chandler Chicco Agency for inviting me and flawlessly orchestrating the entire event. 

I have a lot of information to present and this will be the first of a two-part post on the Summit. The second will focus a bit more on the material presented and discussed. 

We all arrived in Canonsburg, PA, on Thursday and had dinner at Jackson's on Thurday night to meet and converse in an intimate setting before the Summit the next day.

It was incredible to meet the women behind the blogs I have followed since day one of my daughter's diagnosis. Their posts have given me hope and courage to forge ahead on days when I have questioned my ability to manage it all. Everyone was so down-to-earth and open. By the end of the night, I truly felt like I was just surrounded by life-long friends.

What a great way to kick things off - in an intimate dinner where we could all connect on a personal level.

This was also the first time (Gah!) that Lisa Rutter, founder of No Nuts Moms Group, and I were able to meet in person. Not only is she family, but I also work with her in my role as a Leader for the No Nuts Moms Group of Cleveland. I feel like she has always been a part of my life, and always will be. I can't express how happy it made me to finally hug that gal's neck! Love her so much!

The fabulous Lisa Rutter and I!

The fabulous Lisa Rutter and I!

Early the next morning, we departed for Mylan's new Robert J. Coury Global Center, which just opened its doors in December of 2013. What a beautiful space! The setup for the Summit was perfect. We were all seated at a large conference table which was conducive to open dialogue and interaction. One of the coolest things in my opinion was the big screen display they set up for the #MylanSummit Twitter feed. We were not only able to share the Summit with each other, but with other members of the food allergy community through continuous tweets regarding our discussions. 

Sitting in that conference room sharing ideas with all of those inspiring women made me want to do more. Educate more. Advocate more. Support more. Help more. Love more. Write more. Speak more. Share more. Do more.  

Now, I bet you really want to know who was there, what was presented and what was discussed, don't you?!? Check out our group photo below along with the list of attendees and the fabulous blogs they write. Consider all of these required reading. And please stay tuned for Mylan Blogger's Summit 2014, Part II, coming your way soon. I learned so much and there were many highlights for me throughout the day that I want to share.

To be continued...

Left to right: Homa Woodrum, Kelley Lindberg, Joanne LaSpina, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, Lisa Rutter, Colette Martin, Jenny Sprague, Keeley McGuire, Elizabeth DiBurro, Ruth LovettSmith, Kimberly Pellicore, Lindsey Steffensen, Kristen Rutter, Rachel Hayden, Tracy Bush

Left to right: Homa Woodrum, Kelley Lindberg, Joanne LaSpina, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, Lisa Rutter, Colette Martin, Jenny Sprague, Keeley McGuire, Elizabeth DiBurro, Ruth LovettSmith, Kimberly Pellicore, Lindsey Steffensen, Kristen Rutter, Rachel Hayden, Tracy Bush

Attendees from left to right include:

Homa Woodrum, Oh Ma Deehness

Kelley Lindberg, Food Allergy Feast

Joanne LaSpina, Food Allergy Assistant

Dr. Ruchi Gupta, website, blog 

Lisa Rutter, No Nuts Moms Group

Colette Martin, Learning to Eat Allergy-Free

Jenny Sprague, Multiple Food Allergy Help

Keeley McGuire, Keeley Mcguire Blog

Elizabeth DiBurro, EBL Food Allergies

Ruth LovettSmith, Best Allergy Sites 

Kimberly Pellicore, The Food Allergy Mom

Lindsey Steffensen, Frugal Food Allergies

Kristen Rutter (that's me!), Nut Free Momma

Rachel Hayden, Mom vs. Food Allergy

Tracy Bush, Nutrimom- Food Allergy Liaison

Kelly Rudnicki, Food Allergy Mama (not pictured)


I disclose in any communication made by me about EpiPen (epinephrine) Auto-Injector and/or the Mylan Specialty Blogger Summit that such communication is at my own discretion and based on my own opinion. I also disclose that my travel expenses were compensated by Mylan Specialty in exchange for evaluation and feedback on information presented during the meeting. 

Posted on April 18, 2014 and filed under News & Awareness.