Multiple Food Allergies and Prom…It Can Be Done

Another milestone accomplished with multiple food allergies.

My eldest son, Michael, with food allergies to dairy, eggs, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, mustard and raspberries…just had his 2014 Prom Night!

All I can say is…it can be done!

Of course, just like all his classmates…picking out just the right outfit is key.  Michael and I enjoyed our time out with him trying on suits, shirts and ties.

With a pale grey suit, white shirt and lavender tie picked out…it was on to the belt, socks (funky charcoal grey with purple polka dots) and shoes.

That is until he decided he would prefer a bow tie (Bluey purple houndstooth)…saving the lavender tie for graduation with, a yet to be picked out, jazzy kerchief for the pocket.

With the outfit picked out, the limo with about a dozen of his friends rented, it was time to think about the 2014 Prom Night meal…a buffet.

About a week before the event, I spoke to one of the teachers in charge of organizing the big event about the meal…beef, chicken, pasta with red sauce, Caesar salad, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and some sort of dessert.

No matter what was on the menu…with all of Michael’s food allergens…I knew that the chef would need to create a separate meal.

I called up the banquet facility hosting the event and spoke with the events coordinator.  She assured me that their facility had worked with patrons with food allergies.  Just email her a list of Michael’s food allergies and the chef would create a meal just for him.

Literally, it was that simple.

She emailed me back this menu:

Grilled chicken (salt and pepper seasoning)
Roasted red potatoes (salt, pepper, olive oil)
Seasonal vegetables (salt, pepper, olive oil)
Dessert we will offer fresh fruit plate no raspberries

Michael’s meal would be plated in the kitchen separately and when he was ready for his meal, he was to ask a server to bring it out…perfect!

On the day of the prom, I called the principal to inform her of Michael’s separate meal.  I also inquired about the staff attending the Prom to chaperone.  The principal assured me that she was going to review with each of them the administration of an Allerject…she noted she had the Allerject trainer sitting on her desk.

I had presented her with an Allerject trainer at the last School Council Meeting along with an EpiPen trainer and other information from the many exhibitors at Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference I attended. Click here for the post.

The principal requested that Michael inform her of his table number and even gave me her cell phone number…just in case I felt the need to call…I am pleased to say, I didn’t.

Michael even told me a teacher, aware of his multiple food allergies, the week of the Prom, stopped him in the hallway to ask if everything was set for him at the Prom…very impressed!

With all the details in place…it was time for Michael to be dropped off at his friend’s house to catch a limo!

Yes…I hung around to take pictures of all the guys and gals in their finest.

No…I was not the only proud mother taking pictures of this stellar crowd of soon to be graduates!

Yes…attending one’s Prom with a list of multiple food allergies…priceless!

P.S.  Word of advice…a thank you goes a long way..

 

 

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Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference, May 10, 2014

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month…what better way to spend it than at a day dedicated to food allergies.

On Saturday, May 10, 2014,  that is just where you would have found me…attending Anaphylaxis Canada’s 7th Annual Community Conference in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

What a day! I hardly know where the time went…so fast, I even forgot to run out and grab my lunch from the car!

At the morning parent session…I think I may have been one of the oldest mom’s in the group with a son with multiple food allergies ready to graduate from high school.

My table of 6 parents, including myself, consisted of a couple of mom’s with a child with food allergies entering JK, a mom of a girl in Grade 3 and parents of another child who I think was also in Grade 3.

The morning was all about “Partnering And Planning With Your School”.

The registering of one’s child with anaphylaxis in the school system was a big topic. Understanding the law and responsibilities of the school, providing resources on your child with anaphylaxis’ allergy management, creating an Action Plan and effective communication tools for parents were all covered.

Complete with a very ‘Oscar worthy’ role-play example performance!

All the information regarding the morning session can be found at The Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group (TAEG).  Click here.

I really liked the ‘electronic binder information’ they have all ready for one to download…  I wish I had that resource way back when!

The afternoon session, “Managing food allergies:  Working together for a safer future” also flew by.

Great speakers from Anaphylaxis CanadaKyle Dine and three members of the Youth Advisory Panel from Why Risk It? discussed and answered questions on bullying and Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada moderated a great discussion on food labelling.

Dr. Adelle Atkinson’s , MD, FRCPC talk on “A Buffet of truths and myths about food allergy” easily kept the attention of all with her wit and humour.

Many exhibitors waited in the hallway for us all to descend upon them during our morning and afternoon breaks and lunch.

Exhibitors…such as Allerject (I picked up some posters and an Allerject trainer for my boys’ high school), EpiPen (I picked up some posters and an EpiPen trainer for my boys’ high school), Allergic Living Magazine (I happily subscribed for another 2 years), Medic Alert, and SunButter (my favourite being the Organic SunButter I asked if they could please make a crunchy version!)...just to name a few.

So what did I learn at this event?

1)  I was inspired to pick up as much information as I could from the exhibitors to bring back to my boys’ high school to present at the School Council Meeting on May 14, 2014.

2)  It made me realize, my boys’ high school website needs to contain information about registering a student with anaphylaxis.  Adding such information would be a welcoming sight for parents registering a student with anaphylaxis…the Principal agreed.

My experience at the high school level has taught me that not all parents feel the need to inform their child’s high school of their anaphylaxis.  Shocking I know!

By including anaphylaxis information on my boys’ high school website, I hope to bring awareness and encourage all parents of high school children with anaphylaxis to notify the Principal of their child’s anaphylaxis.  Set up a meeting with the Principal, review and fill out an Action Plan and provide the high school with an auto-injector for the office.

Continuing to be advocates at the high school level sets a good example for our children with anaphylaxis…for in only 4 years, you will be passing the torch!

 

 

 

Tips For Parents And Students Who Are Contemplating Attending A Canadian University With Food Allergies

As you may know, my eldest son, Michael, is heading off to university in the fall of 2014.  The transition from high school to university is daunting for any parent, let alone a parent whose child has multiple food allergies.

Michael is allergic to dairy, egg, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, sesame, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberry.

I have put together some tips for parents and students with food allergies in Grade 11/12 contemplating a university degree to share. I hope you find them helpful.

My Top Tips

1) If your high school offers a ‘University Night’…I highly recommend attending when the allergenic student is in Grade 11 and then again in Grade 12.

In Grade 11, Michael was unsure about which university he was interested in…attending the ‘University Night’ a year in advance gave him some insight into what each university offered and the potential average needed to be accepted. Attending the year ahead, relieved some of the stress and pressure for both myself and Michael…it also gave Michael something to work towards.

Attending ‘University Night’ in Grade 11, prepared Michael for Grade 12. It gave him the opportunity to select his Grade 12 courses required for the university faculty of his choice.  It prepared him for what ‘University Night’ had to offer, he knew the universities he wanted information packages from and which 3 universities he was interested in listening to their university representatives brief lecture and question period.

2)  Check out Allergic Living Magazine’s ‘Comparing Universities Chart’. Click here.

Allergic Living Magazine compares the food allergy and celiac practices of 16 Canadian Universities. I found the chart very helpful. I was totally impressed that so many Canadian Universities recognized food allergy and celiac disease. It eased some of the anxiety I was feeling regarding the practices and policies of Canadian Universities in terms of food allergies.

Click here for the ‘U.S Colleges Comparison Chart’ of 25 Colleges.

3)  Definitely book a Campus Tour at each university the allergenic student is interested in attending.

It’s even better if you invite a friend along who is also interested in applying to that particular university. Michael was uninterested in campus tours until I discovered a friend of his wanted to go. Michael seemed to discuss university more openly when his friend was present than just with myself…well, that was my experience.

I just sat back, listened and learned.

The look on Michael’s face when he walked on to his first university campus was priceless. It was a real ‘eye-opener’.

I think it is safe to say, Michael was pleased he took in a few campus tours…he was super impressed with all that the universities had to offer.

4)  If you know of someone who has recently graduated from the particular university the allergenic student is interested in attending, invite them over to discuss their experiences and recommendations.

My niece graduated last year from a university Michael and his friend were thinking to apply…I invited her over the night before the ‘big tour’.  She was able to relay her experiences living in a suite-style residence, her take on ‘student life’ and the importance of engaging in some type of extra-curricular activity at the university. She got them ‘pumped’ for university, as well as, the tour.

5)  Some universities offer a ‘Preview Day’ /‘Open House’/’Campus Day’.

I highly recommend attending a Preview Day and /or Open House for at least one of your booked tours…ours was extremely informative.

6) Be sure to ask your tour guide about the universities specific food allergy policies.  It certainly helped to give both Michael and I a better idea of which universities would be a good fit for Michael and all his food allergies. Interesting to note which university tour guides were prepared for such questions, which universities had someone available to discuss specifics…basically, a university with a plan.

The strength of a university also depends on their ability to meet the needs of the allergenic student’s food allergies. Check out each university’s food allergy policies on their websites.

7)  Acceptance to some Canadian Universities may be based on the student’s Grade 11 average and their Grade 12 mid-term marks.

Michael received 2 conditional offers from 2 Canadian Universities during his final first semester exams.

Michael has some big decisions to make in the next few months.

I really think visiting the university campuses he applied to, learning about the faculty he is interested in taking at each of them and enquiring about their food allergy policies will better enable Michael to choose which university will be the best ‘fit’.

Once all Michael’s conditional offers from the 3 Canadian Universities he has applied to have arrived…he will make his decision.

 

It’s Been A Journey Preparing For University With Multiple Food Allergies And Eczema

My eldest son, Michael, will be heading off to university in the fall of 2014. He will be one amongst the many youths eager, excited and yet, a little anxious to start a new chapter of their lives.

Michael’s university experience, however, will have an added layer. What will set him apart is not his average, his sense of adventure or his charm…Michael has multiple food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, mustard, and raspberries.

Michael is about to embark on a journey that has been in development since he was born.

As parents, we nurture our children, teach them right from wrong, provide them with choices, watch them fall, help them find ‘their feet’ and pick themselves back up again, guide them, encourage them to learn from their mistakes, remain a strong support system, love them through out it all and then hope that all the experiences they have encountered in their lifetime with us has prepared them to meet the ‘real world’.

For Michael, and many other children, personal medical conditions add another element to their ‘life’s journey’.  An element that ‘stirs the pot’ so to speak. Leaving parents and children ‘grasping for straws’ to find their way.  I look back now and wonder how either of us survived the displacement…it was a time in my life full of confusion.

However, to look at Michael now…I know, as parents, we must have done something right. 🙂

In my eyes, the ‘Grade School Years’ were the hardest…Michael suffered greatly from eczema. (Although, he would argue that having food allergies were worse, but then again, his memory of the eczema years is murky…thank goodness!)

At the time, I felt his food allergies seemed manageable in comparison to the many bouts of infection he endured.  His food allergies ‘took the back seat’ until his eczema started to clear around Grade 7.  Until then, I felt tortured by the fact that there seemed to be ‘no method to the madness’ of his eczema.

My eyes would well, my throat would constrict as I held back the tears while I bathed and creamed his wounded body. 

Below are a list of a few of the posts I have written concerning Michael’s journey with his food allergies and eczema:
Click here for a post I wrote titled, “Talking About Atopic Dermatitis”.
Click here for a post I wrote titled, “Suffocating With Multiple Food Allergies and Atopic Dermatitis: Taking a Breathe In Scotland.”
Click here for a post I wrote titled, “Hockey Dominates Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma”.

During those turbulent years, I would find as many distractions as I could to keep Michael from scratching his already weakened skin…reading, games, puzzles and lots of Barney videos to keep him occupied and entranced.

Once school started, warm classrooms and stress increased his ‘itchiness’ making it harder for him to concentrate.  For many years, Michael and I would sit after school to review the day’s work and practice in a supplementary work book. Breaks consisting of sitting in front of a fan or sticking his head outdoors to cool down were often.

All I can remember at that time was how imperative it was to me that he learn the ‘basics of reading, writing and arithmetic’. I worried that the ‘window of opportunity’ for learning these ‘basics’ would pass him by and he would spend the rest of his educational life ‘catching up’.

I emphasized the fact that everything he was learning was needed for his ‘journey of life’.  He needed to ‘pack’ all that he was learning in a ‘suitcase’ to bring along with him.  No matter how much he may or may not be enjoying the work…he needed to ‘pack it’.

As he got older, I would review what he had ‘packed’ proving just how important he needed each and every step of his learning. For example, knowing how to add helps with subtracting…just as knowing one’s multiplication tables makes division that much easier. Over the years, my metaphor of a ‘suitcase’ became a symbol of his accomplishments.

Michael struggled to do well in school but it wasn’t until around Grade 7 that everything fell into place for him. As his eczema started to heal, he started to sleep through the night. This in turn allowed him to focus better in school and that is when the ‘light bulb’ went off. Everything started to make sense to him…as if the items in his ‘suitcase’ were finally coming together.

The desire and ability to do well finally came together for him. He graduated Grade 8 with Honours and was the recipient of the Christian Spirit  Award.

The common thread throughout our journey has been hope

…the hope that Michael’s choices would not be controlled by his eczema and food allergies.
…t
he hope that his eczema and food allergies would act as a catalyst for learning compassion, building a strong sense of sense, confidence and esteem.
…the hope that he would one day outgrow his eczema and food allergies.
…the hope that he would see his own potential and strive to reach his goals.

So here we are now…Michael in his final year of high school. His ‘suitcase’ has served him well. I know he has all the tools he needs to achieve the average needed for the university of his choice. It’s all up to him. Just one more semester to go.

My hope now for Michael and all youth out there with food allergies embarking on their new paths…universal acceptance.

Times are changing…the more society, immediate family, friends, peers, and educational establishments recognize the importance of embracing our children with food allergies…the easier it will be for these students to achieve their personal goals.

Hope, support, choice, faith and change have played a major role throughout Michael’s journey. They have made him who he is today…a young man with big dreams with the self-esteem, ability and opportunity to reach them…and one proud mom!

Joining My Boys With Food Allergies High School School Council

Well, I finally did it…I joined my boys’ high school School Council. After 3 years of their Vice-Principal, now the Principal, inviting me to join…I felt that this year was the year to do it.

Michael’s upcoming Graduation played a big part in my decision. Graduation events planned for the 2013/2014 year…an Annual Graduation Christmas Dinner, Graduation Day and of course, The Prom.  As each of these Graduation events involve food, research will be needed to determine a plan of action due to Michael’s food allergies to dairy, egg, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, sesame, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberries. I felt the best option for me, as a parent of children with food allergies, to figure out all the Graduation events was to get ‘on board’ and join the School Council.

“Why?”, might you say, “did I not join sooner?”  Well, each and every parent of a child/children with or without food allergies will have their own reasons for joining or not joining a School Council. Personally, I felt I needed a purpose/goal to commit myself…the idea of raising awareness of anaphylaxis to set into motion some safe-guards at Graduation events for students with food allergies gave me reason to join.

Over the years, I have been building a rapport with the Vice Principal/Principal, office staff and teachers in regards to setting up both Michael and Matthew’s Anaphylactic Emergency Plan and Medical Profile for their respective teachers and to raise more of an awareness of anaphylaxis in the school setting. When Michael started in Grade 9, there was not a system in place for the students with food allergies that met with Sabrina’s Law…now, office staff and teachers are fully aware and up to date.

Joining the School Council gives me the opportunity to reach out and raise awareness about food allergies in another forum. Michael’s unique list of food allergies continues to label us as trailblazers. It has opened the door to many educational moments…hopefully, paving the way for other students living with food allergies.

So, how has my presence at School Council regarding the raising awareness of food allergies at Graduation events progressed thus far?  I am happy to report…great!

School Council and the teachers with whom I have dealt with so far have been very accommodating…they seem very interested in the inclusion and safety of all students.

The first Graduation event was the Annual Graduation Christmas Dinner whereby, the Principal, Vice Principals and teachers put together a turkey dinner complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes and veggies for the graduating class…all cooked at the school during the day for the evening event.

Due to fact that the meal included some of Michael’s food allergens and the risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen was high…I decided to cook a complete turkey dinner for Michael at home to bring to the event.

One teacher was in charge of organizing the event.  We emailed each other in great detail…I even offered to bake Mini Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes for the graduating class’s dessert.

All was set until I received an email from the teacher in charge that Michael had not purchased a ticket. Apparently, Michael had not heard the announcements to purchase tickets and he had missed the deadline. After consulting with his friends…he decided not to go as not many of them were attending. It was his choice…too bad, because I hear it was quite the event!

Michael may have missed out on the event of the year…but at least the school is now aware of the possibility of students with food allergies attending such events.

I must say, I am enjoying my time at School Council. Should I have joined earlier? Perhaps, but I am here now and that is all that matters.

Next up…Graduation Day snacks and the main event…dinner at a Golf Club before the Prom.

For parents of a child/children with food allergies…Have you joined the School Council?  If yes, what has been your experience?  If no, are you considering it?

Allerject Educational Materials For All Ontario School and Public Health Units

Did you know…all Ontario Schools and Public Health Units will have received educational material regarding the latest auto-injector Allerject?

Anaphylaxis Canada,  in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Education, have updated their Anaphylaxis Support Kits with packages containing resources to inform and educate our educators on the Allerject. Click here for the announcement at Anaphylaxis Canada.

Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, stated, “The health and well-being of our students is a top priority for the Ontario government.”  “Together with our partners, we are committed to making our schools healthier places for students to learn and grow.”

I am more than thrilled!

The resources in Anaphylaxis Canada’s Support Kit support Sabrina’s Law…passed May 2005, Bill 3 and effective January 1, 2006.  Sabrina’s Law “requires that every school board in Ontario establish and maintain an anaphylaxis policy”...it also “requires that principals develop individual plans for pupils at risk of anaphylaxis.”

Ontario publicly funded schools, school boards and public health units received their first bilingual Anaphylaxis Support Kits in 2011…they will receive Updated Packages, whereas, new schools and public health units will have received the full packages.

The bilingual Anaphylaxis Support Kit includes epinephrine auto-injector training devices (EpiPen and Allerject), awareness and instructional posters and videos, a presentation for school personnel, as well as, related materials and other information.

Educating our educators on anaphylaxis is key to the safety of our children with anaphylaxis in their journey through the education system.

I truly believe the next step is to include the students themselves…our children with anaphylaxis’ classmates.

I know from experience with my two boys with multiple food allergies…the importance of educating their classmates on their food allergies and explaining, in age-appropriate language, the causes, signs and symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis.

I believe…de-mystifying auto-injectors and developing an awareness of anaphylaxis early on has many benefits. 1)  It would increase a student’s understanding of a classmate with anaphylaxis. 2)  Develop an appreciation of their classmates living with anaphylaxis. 3)  Build a support network of educators and students for classmates with anaphylaxis.

I am every so grateful for the continuing compassion, empathy and support from my boys’ classmates and educators throughout their education journey.

Classmates are on the ‘front-line’…they are the most likely to witness the onset of an anaphylactic reaction. Students educated on the causes, signs and symptoms and treatment of anaphylaxis would be prepared to administer an auto-injector in the event of an anaphylactic reaction…saving precious time.

A recent article, “It’s Hard Not to Stare children’s book opens discussion on disabilities” by Andrea Gordon in the Toronto Star supports my theory of capitalizing on educating students early to embrace all their classmates, regardless of their differences. Click here to view the article.

Author Tim Huff’s latest children’s book, “It’s Hard Not To Stare: Helping Children Understand Disabilities” and his first book, “The Cardboard Shack Beneath The Bridge”, both touch on this very concept.

Tim Huff’s goal…”to demystify the unfamiliar, build empathy and prevent the kind of judgement and meanness he has witnessed during his decades working with the disabled and as an outreach worker on the street with youth.”

Tim Huff, co-founder of Street Level…”a national advocacy network on homelessness and poverty issues “ states, “If we teach children to be compassionate when they’re young it spills over to everything  and affects their character.”

He goes on to say, “At a time when bullying is rampant, it makes more sense to build on the positive by instilling compassion and dealing with kids’ questions or uncertainty about the unfamiliar, rather than simply outlawing behaviours through numerous anti-bullying programs.”

I totally agree…perhaps a children’s book focusing on anaphylaxis should be next in the works!

Now there is some food for thought.

P.S. Upon learning of Anaphylaxis Canada’s Updated Packages…I photocopied their media release to give to my boys’ high school principal.

Anphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies Pair Together: Allergy Class

Did you know…Anaphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies have formed a partnership to create a new Food Allergy Management Assessment Program? Click here for a link.

The Food Allergy Management Assessment Program is offered in pharmacies located in Loblaw retail stores to “help educate consumers about food allergies and emergency preparedness.”

Registered Dietitian, Lisa Ireland at the Loblaw Pickering location…was recently featured in our local paper promoting healthy food choices for the family with a series titled “Your Life: Healthy alternatives for the whole family to enjoy.” Click here for the article.

I was pleased to note the series included, “Your Life Nutrition: Managing food allergies at school.” Click here for the link.

I love the combination of Anaphylaxis Canada, a dietitian and grocery store. Any questions you may have concerning food allergens, nutritional requirements and food products can be answered by the local Loblaw dietitian or pharmacist. Fabulous!

The main article described the role of the dietitian: to “help people reach their nutrition goals through interactive grocery store tours, educational classes, food demonstrations, and one-on-one nutrition ‘check-ins.’ “

I recently attended one of the educational classes, titled Allergy Class, at the Pickering Loblaw location. The pharmacist covered the basics of Anaphylaxis that was developed by Anaphylaxis Canada followed by Registered Dietitian Lisa Ireland’s overview of meeting one’s nutritional needs with food allergies, reading labels carefully for potential food allergens and answering many personal questions.

Registered Dietitian, Lisa Ireland speaking at Allergy Class at Pickering Loblaw store

The Allergy Class provided hand-outs including pamphlets from Anaphylaxis Canada, EpiPen, Allerject, Government of Canada, and a fantasic booklet from Anaphylaxis Canada titled, “Living Confidently With Food Allergy: A guide for parents and families.

I think the partnership of Anaphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies with the concept of educating about food allergies ‘in-store’ is genius.

Such a shame that offering a Food Allergy Cooking Class is not possible due to…cross-contamination issues.

Besides living in a bubble…cross-contamination issues in kitchens will always be ‘on the table’.

Learning how to avoid and minimize cross-contamination in the kitchen…now that is a lesson worth giving.

Has anyone participated in the Anaphylaxis Canada and Loblaw Pharmacies Food Allergy Management Assessment Program?

Back To School With Anaphylaxis 2013

Well it is that time of year again…time to think about heading back to school.

As both my boys are anaphylactic and have asthma…I will be updating, if need be, their Emergency Medical Plans (provided by the school), writing a letter to the school staff outlining their specific medical conditions…food allergies and asthma…and creating a quick reference Emergency Medical Form for their teachers and substitute teachers (provided by Anaphylaxis Canada see below) and a quick reference Asthma Action Plan (provided by the Canadian Lung Association…click here for a link.)

My eldest starting grade 12…dairy, eggs, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, mustard and raspberries and my youngest starting grade 10…peanut/tree nuts.

Anaphylaxis Canada makes my job easier by outlining some key resources for me to review:

1)  An online webinar:  Back to School – How to Manage Allergies This School Season…click here.
2)  Parent Checklist:  Key reminders for parents and students…click here.
3)  School Staff Checklist:  An overview for educators and school staff…click here.
4)  Information for Teens and Young Adults:  Why Risk It? …a teen site for safety and management tips…click here.

My personal favourite this year…a one page Emergency Medical Plan Form. This form quickly identifies my boys with their photo, list of food allergies, auto-injector information/expiry date/location, signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, procedure to follow during an anaphylactic reaction, and emergency contact information.

The one page Emergency Medical Plan Form is easy to fill out, easy to read, and acts as a quick reference for each of my boys’ teachers to have on hand for their file, for the substitute teacher’s file, for the staff room and main office. Click here for a link. Click here for a link for more of Anaphylaxis Canada’s list of Helpful Info.

Personally, I think the more information we offer to educate our educators and the students that interact with our children with anaphylaxis on a daily basis…the better.

As parents of children or students with anaphylaxis…we cannot totally rely on the school systems to be up-to-date on the ongoing progresses in the ‘world of anaphylaxis.’

It is up to us…as parents/caregivers…to continue to be advocates for our children with anaphylaxis.

With the onus on us…as parents/caregivers…setting a good example by teaching our children with anaphylaxis to becoming advocates for themselves.

We need to learn to ‘pass the torch’…giving our children with anaphylaxis the opportunity to be confident, independent, contributing members of society.

As parents of a child/children with anaphylaxis…what will you be doing to get ready to send your child/children off to school?

As a student with anaphylaxis…what will you be doing you do to get ready to start a new school year?

Click here to read about how EpipenPrincess at A Tale of Anaphylaxis is preparing for Grade 12 with anaphylaxis with her post on ‘Back To School Basics’.

Anaphylaxis Canada Launches Exciting New Program For Teens: The Allergy Awareness Challenge

Today, August 28, 2013, Anaphylaxis Canada is launching an exciting new program for teens…The Allergy Awareness Challenge.

Check it out…click here for a link.

The Allergy Awareness Challenge was designed by teens for teens…Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel...helped to design all the games and materials.

The Allergy Awareness Challenge is an educational tool for teens which specifically focuses on spreading the word about anaphylaxis through three fun days of interactive challenges:

1)  Adopt An Allergy
2)  Food Allergy Jeopardy
3)  Food Allergy Spelling Bee

The Allergy Awareness Challenge is student run with all the materials provided by Anaphylaxis Canada…free!

I would really love your feedback on Anaphylaxis Canada’s Allergy Awareness Challenge.

Parents, caregivers, students…is it something you would consider proposing to your school?

I know I will definitely be informing my boys high school about this unique opportunity.

Matthew’s Allerject Demonstration At His Grade School’s End Of The Year Staff Meeting

Tip # 1 from Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel at Why Risk It? Click here for the entire list.

“Don’t simply DO things for us when we are kids, TEACH US.  How to read a food label, speak up, ask questions in restaurants, and teach our friends to use an auto-injector . We need to know how to do these things and become vigilant ourselves.”

My youngest son, Matthew is allergic to peanut/tree nuts. He has just successfully completed his first year of high school. By the time he graduates…he needs to have completed 40 hours of volunteer work. Matthew chose to go back to his grade school to volunteer for 3 days at the end of his final exams.

On his first day, Matthew was kept busy taking down all the graduation decorations. He did, however, take the time to demonstrate for his Grade 8 teacher, Mr. G, his new auto-injector…the Allerject.

Mr. G was notably impressed and advised Matthew to demonstrate the Allerject to the school’s new principal, Mr. O.

Mr. O was also very impressed with Matthew’s demonstration of the Allerject…he wondered if Matthew and I could attend the end of the year staff meeting on the Friday morning to give a quick presentation.

Matthew accepted on our behalf…but was quite hesitant that he should actually do the demonstration.

I thought this was a great opportunity for Matthew to take advantage of the above Tip #1 from Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel. So I encouraged Matthew by explaining to him that I would give the background story…he would do the demonstration…and we would deal with any questions at the end.

Mr. O gave us a wonderful introduction…my background story ended with Matthew’s big intro…”What if the auto-injector talked?”

Matthew demonstrating the administration of the Allerject at his grade school's end of the year staff meeting

Matthew did a great job.

There were many questions from the staff. One of which stood out to me…”How do we know if a student has the Allerject or not?”

It was a great opportunity for me to reiterate the importance that all students with anaphylaxis should be known to all staff. 

All anaphylactic students’ pictures should be up in the staff room with all their anaphylactic allergies, type of auto-injectors, signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, as well as the protocol for an anaphylactic reaction.

All in all I thought it went well…”You did a great job mom…just maybe you went on a little too long but I think it was okay.”...thanks Matthew.

P.S.  Matthew has been volunteering at his grade school, church and selling tickets for his friends’ swim team…he has completed 39 of the 40 hours required for him to graduate high school…way to go Matthew…I think you will make it!