As part of our continuing series introducing several of the featured speakers at the FARE National Food Allergy Conference in San Antonio, this week we sat down with disability rights attorney and food allergy mom, Mary Vargas. Mary is a champion in the courts for ensuring the rights of people with life-threatening food allergies and a tireless advocate for her 9-year old son. Mary recently filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Transportation on behalf of FARE against American Airlines for misleading passengers about their legal rights and denying them legal protections.
What was your interest in getting involved in disability law?
When I was in fifth grade I started babysitting for a child who was deaf and because of my experience, wanted to go into deaf education. I earned my degree in deaf education, but after seeing the incredible need to change the opportunities available to children with disabilities, I decided to go to law school and focus on disability rights more broadly.
You’ve been to FARE’s Teen Summit before – what are you most looking forward to at FARE’s Food Allergy National Conference?
Getting to spend time with people who care about food allergies is like coming home. I’m looking forward to experiencing the sense of community, the common mission, and the mutual passion for change at the National Conference.
Tell us a little about what you will be presenting on in your sessions.
The concept of food allergy as a disability is one that provokes fascinating discussions and also serves as the foundation for building change in our community. I am excited to present about food allergy as a disability pursuant to disability rights laws and how we can work together to create a more inclusive world.
One fun fact about me is…
I have a dog who believes he is a meerkat and walks on two legs. He also stress eats – the couch.
Hear more from Mary at the 2017 FARE National Food Allergy Conference. To view the full schedule and to register, click here.