Posts filed under News & Awareness

Food allergy "joke" on American Idol

In the interest of full disclosure before I open this can of worms, I must say that I don't watch American Idol, nor did I watch last night's episode. Apparently, there was a comment made by Caleb, one of the contestants, about another contestant's peanut allergy that has a lot of people in the food allergy community in an uproar. Based on comments made by people in my circle of food allergy moms and an article on USA Today, it appears that Caleb made a comment joking about putting peanuts in Alex's underwear. Alex has a known peanut allergy. I assume this comment was made in a joking manner and not meant to be malicious or harmful. The comment indicates to me that Caleb is uneducated about the seriousness of food allergies and probably had no idea that this comment could be as harmful as it was when he made it. The issue is that regardless of Caleb's knowledge and intent, the comment is harmful and needs to be addressed.

This was obviously harmful to Alex. Alex undoubtedly knows the seriousness of his own allergy. This comment had to have made him uncomfortable on some level. I don't know the nature of their relationship, or if they joke around a lot like this offscreen, but this comment was made in front of a lot of people, on national television.

This comment was harmful to the many members of American Idol's audience who are also living with food allergies. I can only imagine how many parents had to discuss the comment with their children in their living rooms after it was made.

This comment was made to a young and impressionable audience. My biggest concern is that a largely teenage audience will see that type of joking as acceptable and may even think that it would be okay to carry out such a prank, when such a prank could literally kill someone.

I am not trying to be a square without a sense of humor, but this is very serious subject matter. Bullying is a growing concern in the food allergy community and it is something that all food allergy parents think about often. Food allergy bullying has made big headlines recently:

Allergy bullying: When food is a weapon

Be Aware: The Dangers of Food Allergy Bullying 

Bullied WIth Food: Another Risk For Kids With Food Allergies

The food allergy community is fighting very hard to educate and protect ourselves and the ones we love. Sometimes the harmful effects of food allergy bullying can't be seen on the surface, and what may seem like a harmless joke, can actually have some serious and harmful effects. FARE said it best in their bullying PSA, "It's Not a Joke."

It's unfortunate that this comment was made, but I see it as an opportunity to spread more awareness and education. Food allergies are no joking matter. Period. End of story. If you want to learn more about the seriousness of food allergies, please visit, FARE and FAACT to educate yourself. If you want to do one good deed for the day, share this blog post, the aforementioned links, or other resources or articles of your choosing to help educate others about the seriousness of food allergies. It would be great if American Idol, or Caleb himself, would address the comment to express to the show's audience that such comments aren't okay and that such a prank, if really carried out, could kill. I do hope that through talking about this comment, a few more people become more sensitive to the seriousness of food allergies.

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Posted on March 20, 2014 and filed under News & Awareness.

FARE Walk for Food Allergies, Cleveland

I just wanted to post a follow up on the Cleveland Walk for Food Allergies which was held on August 11th. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to serve as the Walk Chair for the event. Our family has participated in charity events and walks in the past, but this was the first time that I got involved in any volunteer or leadership position.

I started working with FARE in January and was selected to serve as the Walk Chair for the event. I helped coordinate and plan out the logistics for the walk and sought out sponsors and volunteers. We also created a family team for the walk to celebrate our precious girls.

This was Cleveland's first FARE Walk and I am happy and so proud to report that the event drew in over 400 walkers and over $34,000 was raised by teams, individuals and sponsors! As of walk day, Cleveland was the first city in the midwest to not only meet its fundraising goal ($25,000) but to surpass it!

I am so proud to say that I was a part of this event and so many thanks are due. This event was an incredible collaboration between FARE, local and national businesses, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (where the walk was held), numerous volunteers, all of the individual and team member fundraisers, and all of the generous people who donated!

I can't wait to help out in planning next year's walk. It was an incredible event. I honestly believe that FARE does so much for the food allergy community. We should all in some way be giving back to this incredible organization.

Posted on September 8, 2013 and filed under News & Awareness.

Food Allergy Awareness Week

Food Allergy Awareness Week kicks off today and goes through next Sunday.  For my family, this week is no different from every other week we spend checking labels, asking for ingredient lists, packing safe snacks and carrying Epi-pens wherever we go.  Every food allergy parent knows this is true.  With that said, this week does offer an opportunity to educate others who don't have the same level of knowledge that we do as parents of food allergic children. Here is my plan for the week:

  • Change my Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to help raise awareness.  Already done and done!
  • Post at least one food allergy fact a day on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Wear something teal every day and tell at least one person what the color represents and why I am wearing it.
  • Put on my food allergy awareness t-shirt as soon as I get it!  Should be en route to my house now!
  • Advertise the No Nuts Moms Group of Cleveland, which I am now a leader of, in an effort to reach other mothers of peanut and tree nut allergic children in the area who may not be aware of our group.

To kick things off, here are some fast facts provided by FARE to share as a part of this year's Awareness Week:

  • 1 in every 13 children has a food allergy. That’s two in every classroom.
  • Every 3 min, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the ER – that's more than 200,000 visits per year
  • 8 foods account for 90% of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish www.foodallergy.org/allergens
  • Food allergies can begin at any age and affect children and adults of all races and ethnicity. Learn more: www.foodallergy.org
  • There was an 18% increase in food allergy from 1997-2007. Learn more about research on new therapies www.foodallergy.org/research
  • What would you do if you saw someone having a severe allergic reaction? Learn how to respond: www.foodallergy.org/anaphylaxis

I would love to hear what all of you are doing in an effort to raise awareness!  Share your ideas and suggestions in the comments below!  Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week!

Posted on May 12, 2013 and filed under News & Awareness.