May is Food Allergy Awareness Month and this year I have a reason to write about my hopes instead of my fears.
Every so often I think about life before I had kids and have a little chuckle. I’m still the same person at my core, but so much of me has changed. Becoming a mother was one of my biggest defining moments – when I discovered my place in the circle of life. 5 months after I became I mom, I became an “allergy mom” and was forced to take off my rose colored glasses and learn how to accept things that were out of my control.
A few months ago I participated in a round-table discussion with other parents of children with severe food allergies in support of the SickKids Foundation. While our children have different allergies and we all live different realities, I was amazed at how similar all of our feelings, hopes and fears were. One of the allergy dads in my group described the reality of allergy parents well when he said that “in some ways it’s almost as if we’re living in a slightly different world…” because no matter where we are or what we are doing, we are always waiting and prepared for the worst to happen. We’re always “on” even when everyone else around us is relaxed and having fun. I honestly do feel like I’m always at two different places at the same time.
But living with food allergies is not all doom and gloom … in fact, it’s a great time to have food allergies because so many new alternative food options are available and researchers are working hard to find ways to improve the quality of life for those with food allergies. In fact, the SickKids Allergy Program, with the support of Kraft Peanut Butter, aims to prevent and ultimately cure food allergies in kids in the next ten years! Yes … you read that correctly … in only 10 years!
Recent developments in the study of allergy, both inside and outside SickKids, suggest SickKids’ goal is achievable.
If SickKids succeeds in their goal, in only 10 years my son could be buying his lunch from his high school cafeteria just like the rest of his friends. He’ll be able to eat the same celebratory pizza with his sports teams and go on overnight school trips without needing to worry about what he’ll eat. In only 10 years he could have “regular” teenage worries. #InOnly10Years
I’m impressed that SickKids has not only made this goal, but committed to a timeline… wow! I’m amazed that researchers believe that they can find a cure for food allergies in my son’s lifetime. Thank you SickKids for giving me a reason to have hope!
Here’s a short video clip produced by the SickKids Foundation of the discussion I participated in summarizing what parents whose children have severe food allergies worry about.
You can read more about why SickKids feels their goal is achievable and view more videos on the SickKids Foundation website.