Currently, I have a rare red-meat allergy triggered by a tick bite. This allergy causes a life-threatening, delayed anaphylaxis. For me, the reaction occurs 4-6 hours after consuming red meat (beef, pork or lamb). There's no hives and no warning. My throat swells shut. And because we usually eat dinner quite late in our home, that meant most of the time I was waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe or speak. It has meant ER visits with a cocktail of life-saving drugs in an IV. And unfortunately, because this allergy is so rare, it took us nearly 18 months to find the cause of my problems. You can read about my awesome doctor here. In fact during the last few months revelation of this problem has been all over the news - here, here and here (just to name a few).
But food allergies aren't new to me. As a child I was allergic to artificial flavoring, artificial coloring and some preservatives. Talk about hives! I couldn't eat hot dogs or even Doritos! I couldn't drink flavored drinks like Kool-Aid or Hi-C. For a child growing up in the 1980's (long before many were educated about food allergies) that meant being left out of lots of yummy (but not-so-good-for-you) foods at classroom parties in school. It was hard!
That's why I've decided to donate two signed copies of Cinderskella, along with a nice swag pack (bracelets, necklace and bookmarks) and a Skype visit/phone call/school visit to the Northeast chapter of FARE - Food Allergy Research & Education. This Thursday, November 7th, they are having a gala at Reagan National Airport to raise money and awareness for childhood allergies. Senator Marco Rubio and extreme athlete Mike Monroe will both be honored at the gala!
For those of you that don't know what FARE is, here's some information about them.
From the FARE website:
Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in 13 children in the United States – or roughly two in every classroom. FARE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was formed in 2012 as the result of a merger between the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and the Food Allergy Initiative.
As a child and now as an adult, I know what it's like to suffer with food allergies. I know what it's like to feel left out. Different. These kids shouldn't have to feel that way. Being a kid is hard enough, being singled out for something beyond your control is even tougher.
If you don't live in the Northern Virginia, Washington DC or Maryland area, but would like to help, please consider donating to this great cause. You might just save a life.
I hope the donation of Cinderskella to FARE's gala is able to contribute to their goal and fund-raising efforts. If it can help, even just a little, then I will have accomplished something great. And if the awesome kids who win the books and read Cinderskella benefit from it's message, then I will feel complete.