The FARE Vision Awards recognize individuals and entities who work to make the vision of a safer world for people with food allergies a reality, and who support FARE in its mission to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments.
Our 2017 award winners have gone above and beyond in their efforts to support the food allergy community, and they are true leaders in making a difference for everyone who is living with food allergies. On April 29 at the FARE National Food Allergy Conference in San Antonio, we were delighted to present the fourth annual FARE Vision Awards. This year’s recipients are:
Outstanding Business Award for Food Allergy Activism
Presented to a company that has made a positive impact in the lives of people with food allergies through education, awareness, establishment of accommodation best practices or advocacy efforts.
Presented to Farmer’s Keep
In the heart of Philadelphia’s Business District sits a restaurant that is completely dairy-, egg-, peanut-, tree nut-, soy-, shellfish- and gluten-free. That is quite an undertaking, but Farmer’s Keep has taken on the challenge of serving healthy and allergy-friendly food in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Farmer’s Keep was established by Josh Bullock, whose young cousin has multiple food allergies. After attending a FARE Walk for Food Allergy several years ago in support of his cousin, Josh and his wife were struck by the lack of options for the food allergy community and the lack of creativity that restaurants were putting into serving diners with food allergies. To quote from their nomination letter, “Farmer’s Keep truly exemplifies what it means to be an advocate for allergy-friendly diets.”
Outstanding Professional Award for Food Allergy Activism
Presented to an individual who has made a positive impact in the lives of people with food allergies and supported the food allergy community through education, awareness, establishment of accommodation best practices, and/or advocacy efforts.
Presented to Mary Vargas
Mary Vargas is a food allergy mom and disability rights attorney. Mary, who is a partner at the civil rights law firm of Stein & Vargas, has worked tirelessly on behalf of the food allergy community on multiple fronts. She has worked with FARE on several cases, including the filing of an amicus brief in the civil rights case T.F. vs Fox Chapel Area School District, as well as most recently representing FARE in its DOT complaint against American Airlines for its discriminatory policy against passengers with food allergies. Mary secured a victory for the food allergy community last year when the Department of Justice determined that a children’s theater program in Massachusetts violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, finding that it discriminated against a child with food allergies when it failed to make reasonable modifications for his safety and retaliated against the child’s friend who spoke up on his behalf.
The food allergy community is incredibly fortunate to have an attorney of Mary’s caliber passionately advocating for the rights of individuals with food allergies. But Mary’s work on behalf of the food allergy community goes beyond the law. She has shared her expertise with you today during an earlier session, she presented at FARE’s Teen Summit last fall and she has also provided guidance to countless others through her participation in webinars and through her work for the Allergy Law Project.
Outstanding Community Education
Presented to an individual dedicated to impactful education and awareness endeavors on behalf of individuals living with food allergy.
Presented to Erica Andert
This year’s recipient is Erica Andert, founder and support group leader at Michiana Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Support in South Bend, Indiana. Erica has food allergies herself, but was inspired to start a support group in 2012 by her 11-year-old son, who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Erica’ support group is extremely active in the community; with bimonthly meetings featuring guest speakers and an active social media presence. Under Erica’s leadership, Michiana Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Support has promoted the Teal Pumpkin Project locally and has coordinated a number of children’s events in a safe environment. She has also organized yearly Food Allergy Awareness Week events and has worked with the local minor league baseball team to put together a peanut-free nights for the last four years. Erica also serves as a member of FARE’s Community Engagement Council and has helped raise funds for FARE through the walk and other events.
Outstanding Advocacy Impact Award
Presented to an individual who has impacted policymakers and legislative efforts to improve access and quality of life for the food allergy community.
Presented to Jessica Davila-Burnett
Jessica, whose oldest daughter Skyler has a peanut allergy, is well known for her community service, having received a number of awards for her achievements. Jessica created an online community to help educate others about allergen-free food, spread the message of teal pumpkins throughout her neighborhood and has participated in the FARE Walk for Food Allergy since Skyler was in the third grade. In 2011, Jessica championed House Bill 742 with Texas State Representative Todd Hunter. Together they passed a records bill for children with severe food allergies attending Texas public schools.
Outstanding Achievement in Community Engagement
Presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond to advance FARE’s impact at the community level through a sustained commitment to fundraising, advocacy and education.
Presented to Lianne Mandelbaum
In 2013, after a negative travel experience with her family, Lianne Mandelbaum founded nonuttraveler.com, an advocacy website for air travel passengers with food allergies. Her goal is to increase awareness of the seriousness of life-threatening food allergies with an emphasis on air travel. Lianne and her son have testified in front of the New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee; she has also presented at the Universal Access in Airports Conference and she is a member of a FARE-led airline coalition formed to present a unified voice on behalf of the food allergy community. Lianne collects and shares testimonials regarding flying experiences from food allergic families on No Nut Traveler and shares these with lawmakers, media and food allergy advocacy groups in hopes of influencing airlines and government to create consistent and clear food allergy airline policies. Lianne also is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and has raised the profile of food allergy through her work with the media. In addition to her advocacy work, Lianne also serves as the co-chair of FARE’s New York Food Allergy Ball, helping to raise funds in support of FARE’s mission.
Teen Achievement Award
Presented to an outstanding youth volunteer whose dedicated service advances awareness of our cause.
Presented to Ryan Blum and Calli Brielle McIntyre
Ryan Blum is a high school senior in Deerfield, Illinois who has multiple food allergies. Ryan has embraced his food allergies and does not let them hold him back in life. He has been involved with FARE since 2011 and has been a part of the Midwest Teen Advisory Group since 2013, assuming the role of one of three co-leaders of the group in 2017. He was the sole teenager on the planning committee for the FARE Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago and has taken an active role in increasing food allergy awareness and safety in his high school. While interning for Congressman Robert Dold, Ryan worked on research and legislation to support safer air travel for individuals living with food allergies, writing letters to every major U.S. airline and helping to educate members of Rep. Dold’s team on issues faced with air travel. Ryan’s nomination letter states, “His efforts are ongoing and nonstop. Ryan is always looking for ways to improve the food allergy community and is finding ways to make others feel safe.”
Calli McIntyre became a food allergy advocate at the age of 9. Frustrated by food allergy bullying, she began hosting Be a PAL: Protect A Life events to educate students and teachers on how to recognize anaphylaxis and how to keep peers safe. She has reached over 2,000 preschool and elementary students with empowering steps to put an end to food allergy bullying. Calli wrote and illustrated a children’s book, “The Anteater That Couldn’t Eat Ants,” that addresses bullying and food allergies that was published in spring 2015. Copies of her book, are donated to school and county libraries through Crowning Purpose, Inc., her nonprofit organization. She donates net proceeds to FARE in support of its mission and has donated copies of her book to every county in North Carolina, 9 states, 3 countries and several food allergy clinics and hospitals. She is currently working with her local state representatives to get North Carolina House Bill 520 passed, which would require restaurants in North Carolina to complete training on food allergies.
Health Professional Award for Volunteer Service
Presented to a healthcare provider or allied health professional who goes above and beyond in a volunteer service capacity to further the advancement of FARE’s mission tenets of life, health and hope.
Presented to Dr. Allen Lieberman
Dr. Lieberman serves on the faculty at Texas A&M Health Science Center in Round Rock and at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas in Austin. He is a passionate advocate for the food allergy community, working to help get undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors into Texas public schools. He continues to collaborate with our state legislators to bring stock epinephrine to private schools and other public entities along with raising food allergy awareness by educating the media and his local community. He has been a longtime supporter of FARE, volunteering for our Advocacy Day, sponsoring the Austin walk, leading the Austin Area Support Group, and championing FARE’s work with members of the media.
Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2017 FARE Vision Awards!