Food Allergy Action Month Highlights

For the first time,FARE expanded Food Allergy Awareness Week in 2014 by declaring the entire month of May as Food Allergy Action Month. We would like to thank all of you who contributed by taking action – whether it was educating others about food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis, making a donation, signing up for a FARE Walk for Food Allergy, advocating on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, or wearing teal. We were thrilled to see many wonderful photos of people and pets rocking their teal for our #TealTakeover – be sure to check out our photo album on Storify!

Highlights of our first Food Allergy Action Month included:

  1. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia issued Food Allergy Awareness Week proclamations, and U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced a resolution into Congress.
  2. The incredible mom-daughter duo of “Fashion by Mayhem” raised awareness and funds for FARE with their first dress auction. The dress sold for $355 – a generous donation for a dress made from paper and packaging tape!
  3. FARE’s Twitter chat (#FAREChat) provided answers to questions submitted by the community about food allergies and anaphylaxis from Drs. Ruchi Gupta and Wayne Shreffler.
  4. Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland was lit teal on May 12 and the Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, NC was lit teal on May 18.
  5. Food allergy musician Kyle Dine joined in our #TealTakeover and sang at the Food Allergy Education Network’s annual Dance-A-Thon in Connecticut; his performance was sponsored by FARE as part of our Community Outreach Grants Program.
  6. Recipe Rehab, a competition cooking show, featured a family managing food allergies in an episode sponsored by FARE.
  7. Students in schools across the country dressed in teal and helped educate their peers about food allergies through presentations and by reading facts over the school public address systems.
  8. Numerous media outlets featured stories about Food Allergy Action Month and Food Allergy Awareness Week, including The Huffington PostCharlotte ObserverSalt Lake Tribune, and About.com.
  9. A 100-ft-long soy nut butter and jelly sandwich was constructed in the Chicago area to bring the community together and highlight the issue of food allergies.
  10. FARE’s “Give $15 on the 15th” campaign received great support from the food allergy community in honor of the 15 million Americans with food allergies.

It truly has been a tremendous month, but in order to make a real and lasting difference, we need each member of the food allergy community to continue taking action on behalf of those with food allergies beyond just the month of May. Check out our Action Challenge List for suggested actions you can take throughout the year to make an impact!

Food Allergy Action Challenge – Make Your List!

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We are grateful for and inspired by the food allergy community’s efforts during FARE’s first Food Allergy Action Month to take action and raise awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis. Food Allergy Action Month was a huge success, and now it’s time to take it to the next level!

You can join us in making a real and lasting difference year-round by creating your own Food Allergy Action Challenge!  Here’s how you do it: make a list of ways that you want to make an impact and schedule them each month throughout the year. Check out our sample Food Allergy Action Challenge list below for ideas on how to get started! We’ve provided some ideas here to get you started – one for each month leading up to next year’s awareness week!

FARE Food Allergy Action Challenge 2014-2015
June 2014 Continue learning about food allergies by attending the FARE National Food Allergy Conference and our free educational webinars, or viewing an archived webinar.
July 2014 Sign up for a FARE Walk for Food Allergy, recruit others to join you, and set a fundraising goal. You can also find other events in your region by connecting with your FARE Regional Office.
August 2014 During Back to School season you can help spread the word about the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s, “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs.” Find out how on our blog.
September 2014 Connect with others by joining a support group, and work with other local food allergy families or hosting a presentation at your school or office.
October 2014 Share our SafeFARE flyer with restaurants in your area to encourage them to get allergen-trained and added to our database.
November 2014 Learn about FARE’s strategic plan for research. If you or your child is interested in participating in a clinical trial, sign up for ResearchMatch.
December 2014 Join our Advocates Network to make your voice heard on federal and state legislation.
January 2015 Create your own fundraiser. From participating in athletic challenges to having a lemonade stand in your front yard, there are lots of ways to create a fundraising event to help raise funds for food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness programs. Your event will not only support FARE’s mission, it will spark a conversation about food allergies, giving you an opportunity to educate others in your community.
February 2015 Spread the word on social media by sharing facts and resources like our infographic, Discovery Channel documentary, “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America,”  and food allergy bullying “It’s Not a Joke” PSA.
March 2015 Become a FARE member. Every new member makes a difference and helps us turn up the volume on critical food allergy issues.
April 2015 Plan ahead for the next Food Allergy Awareness Week and Food Allergy Action Month. Putting up posters, making a presentation, or planning a awareness or fundraising event are just some of the ways you can help support the food allergy cause. Prep ahead by downloading our free resources.

Thank you again for your support of FARE and efforts to raise awareness and take action last month! We look forward to continuing to build momentum throughout the year to make the world a better place for all those with food allergies.

Take Action This Week On Behalf of 15 Million with Food Allergies!

It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week! We encourage you to take action that will make an impact for those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Earlier this month, we announced the expansion of Food Allergy Awareness Week by declaring the entire month of May as Food Allergy Action Month, publishing a calendar with suggestions on how anyone can take an action each day in a meaningful way. Today, in honor of the 15 million Americans affected by food allergies, FARE is publishing “15 Essential Food Allergy Facts.”

Food Allergy Awareness Week, observed this year May 11-17, was created by FARE in 1998 as a way of bringing widespread attention to a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease. So far this year, elected officials in 30 states and the District of Columbia have issued proclamations in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, and a resolution has been introduced in Congress. FARE is also spreading the word about its #TealTakeover – a coordinated community and social media campaign that encourages individuals, organizations, schools, and businesses to paint their community teal, the official color of food allergy awareness, in order to spark conversation and inspire action.

“Taking action to raise awareness and garner support for a cure is critically important each and every day,” said John L. Lehr, chief executive officer of FARE. “Taking the time to educate yourself about food allergies – even if they don’t personally affect you – can save a life. That is why we want to spread the word this month with our 15 essential facts that will help improve understanding of food allergies.”

Today at 3:30 p.m. ET, FARE will be hosting an “Ask the Experts” Twitter chat featuring Ruchi Gupta, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Center for Healthcare Studies, and Wayne Shreffler, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and chief of pediatric allergy and immunology and director of the Food Allergy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. Drs. Gupta and Shreffler will answer questions about food allergies during the chat moderated by FARE staff. Twitter users can participate using #FAREChat.

On Wednesday, FARE will host a webinar featuring Mike Spigler, vice president of education at FARE, who will discuss FARE’s educational programs as well as provide a sneak preview of FARE’s upcoming National Food Allergy Conference on June 21-22 in Chicago. This past weekend, FARE sponsored an episode of the competition cooking show Recipe Rehab, featuring a San Diego family managing food allergies.

Throughout the country, food allergy education efforts have intensified this month. FARE is providing a variety of resources to families, individuals and businesses to participate in Food Allergy Action Month in a meaningful way, including an infographic, free posters, shareable graphics, bookmarks and more – all designed to educate others and help demonstrate the broad impact that have food allergies have across the nation.

Visit FARE’s comprehensive online headquarters at www.foodallergyweek.org for more information on how to get involved.

Here are FARE’s 15 Essential Food Allergy Facts:

15  Essential Food Allergy Facts

  1. About 15 million Americans have a food allergy.
  2. A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein as a threat and attacks it.
  3. The top eight food allergens in the United States are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
  4. Even the tiniest amount of an allergen can cause a reaction.
  5. One in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom, has a food allergy.
  6. The number of children with food allergies is on the rise – the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported a 50 percent increase from 1997 to 2011.
  7. Scientists have not yet uncovered the cause for the rise in food allergy.
  8. Food allergy reactions can range from mild to severe. Anaphylaxis, the most severe allergic reaction, is potentially fatal.
  9. Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room in the United States.
  10. Epinephrine is the only medication that can reverse the symptoms of anaphylaxis.
  11. A food allergy is different from a food intolerance. A food allergy involves the immune system and can cause serious reactions, while an intolerance means having trouble digesting a food.
  12. Food allergies can develop at any age. While many food allergies are outgrown, certain food allergies, such as peanut and tree nut allergy, are typically considered lifelong.
  13. Caring for children with food allergies costs U.S. families more than $24 billion annually.
  14. There is no cure for food allergy.
  15. Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis.

May is Food Allergy Action Month!

This year FARE is expanding Food Allergy Awareness Week by declaring the entire month of May as Food Allergy Action Month – a time to take action and make an impact on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies. Our goal in expanding to a month-long initiative is to go beyond raising awareness in order to inspire action so that we can improve understanding of the disease, advance the search for a cure, create safer environments and help people live well with food allergies.

We’ve created a custom calendar, marked with one action individuals can take each day to support the food allergy community. Print the Action Calendar or bookmark the webpage and make it your goal to complete as many items as possible!

 

For more information, read our press release on the subject.

Holiday Gifts that Give Back

Supporting the causes that mean the most to you and your family can be a great way to celebrate the holiday season. As you start thinking about holiday gifts, there are many ways to give back and support food allergy education, research, advocacy and awareness programs – from purchasing a FARE membership for a family member, to books, clothes and jewelry that help support food allergy awareness. You can get your holiday shopping done and start making a difference today!

Membership
The gift of membership is one that makes an impact every day in the lives of the individuals and families affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis. Your gift gives the recipient access to our outstanding member benefits, while connecting them with other individuals and families managing food allergies.

MassCanvas Food Allergy Awareness T-shirts
Kids and adults alike love wearing these shirts to help raise awareness about food allergies. They were designed by professional designers and selected by you! Below are the official winning designs, sold in support of FARE’s mission – 20% of net proceeds go to FARE.

 

Holiday Cookbook
Stuffed with more than 150 tempting recipes, this cookbook offers helpful tips for substituting foods, cooking, and hosting safe celebrations throughout the year. With many common allergens avoided in every recipe, this will be your first reference for festive, allergen-free recipes.

Children’s Books

Nutley the Nut-Free Squirrel
This educational picture book about a squirrel with a nut allergy is written by a mother of three children with food allergies. Reading it to your children or in a classroom can help raise awareness about food allergies in a fun and entertaining way. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to FARE!Nutley_cover

Mangos for Max
Written by a food allergy mom, this children’s book aims to introduce food allergy to preschool and young elementary school children in a gentle manner. The author is donating 10 percent of proceeds from the book to FARE.

What Treat Can Ruben Eat?
By writing this book, food allergy dad John-Ruben Aranton hopes to educate more people on the potential dangers of food allergies and raise awareness to help create a safer environment for his daughter and others. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to FARE.

She Beads and He Beads Food Allergy Awareness Bracelet
The perfect gift for someone in your life who wants to raise awareness about food allergies in style! From every bracelet sold, $12 will be donated to FARE.

MedicAlert “MyVoice” Program and Medical Identification
Wearing medical identification at all times can help give you peace of mind that you are prepared should a life-threatening reaction occur. The MyVoice program is there for you to help communicate your vital medical information in an emergency situation. In addition to a 10% discount on new memberships, 20% of the proceeds from new and renewing memberships through the MyVoice program will support FARE.

More Items Available in FARE’s Online Store
From educational booklets and training tools, to more cookbooks and food allergy awareness materials, FARE’s online store has a variety of resources to help you live well with food allergies.

Thank you for your continued support, and we wish you a wonderful holiday season!

FARE Kids Who Care: Making School More Food-Allergy-Friendly

Whether eating in the lunchroom or playing team sports, navigating food allergies at school can sometimes be hard for kids. Nicole Dunham and Ryan Smith each came up with fun and positive solutions to help meet their needs at school, and in turn were able to raise awareness about food allergies and make a difference. We hope you’ll share these stories with your children or friends to give them ideas of how they can inspire improvements and spread the word about food allergies in their schools too!

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High school senior Nicole Durham, a  cross country and track runner, didn’t let the abundance of shelled peanuts at sporting events stop her running career – even after having breathing issues that forced her to withdraw from a state race. This setback prompted her to focus her senior project on peanut allergy, with the goal of educating, creating awareness, and raising money to help researchers find a cure. As her final project, she successfully lobbied administrators to restrict the sale of shelled peanuts in her school district and at school activities. She also raised $1,000 for FARE by selling “No Nuts Allowed” water bottles, hosting a sweatpants/gym short day fundraiser, and collecting personal donations.

Read more about Nicole’s story in her own words.

ryansmithFirst-grader Ryan Smith won a raffle at his school to be “Principal for the Day.” That day, teachers could wear casual clothes if they made a donation to the charity of Ryan’s choosing. He chose FARE without hesitation, and collected extra donations from his 9-year-old sister and family. In addition to raising funds, the Smith family also helped push the school to offer milk-free pizza in the cafeteria. Even though they hit a few snags along the way, Ryan wasn’t willing to give up on working with the school nutrition office to provide a safe pizza. Now he and other students in the school with milk allergy can enjoy pizza along with their friends.

Nicole and Ryan should be proud of themselves for making a lasting impact on their schools that will help students with food allergies for years to come.