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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Thank You Evan and Eric Edwards…My Boys Have Their Allerjects

In 1998, my eldest son, Michael was 2 years old…suffering from severe eczema, multiple food allergies, sensitivities and asthma. At the end of the year, I gave birth to my second son, Matthew…only to discover, years later, he also had food allergies, eczema and asthma.

Who knew, that same year, 18 year old twin brothers, Evan and Eric Edwards, (allergies include peanut/tree nuts, shellfish, fish and antibiotics), had sketched on a napkin...a design for an auto-injector that would fit inside their blue jeans pocket.

An activity that ultimately…determined the brothers’ educational paths (pharmaceutical science/medicine and engineering)…career paths (founded a specialty pharmaceutical company named Intelliject)…business decision (Sanofi bought the North American licensing rights to the new auto-injector)…and created, some 15 years later, the first voice-prompted auto-injectorAllerject.

The boys' first Allerject auto-injector

Click here for a link to their site. Take note of their offer for a free Allerject trainer and Allerject carrying case per household.

I first learned of Allerject from my Winter 2013 Allergic Living Magazinethere was an Allerject advertisement plus…a fantastic article written by Mary Esselman titled, “The Auto-Injector That Talks”. (The information for this post derives mostly from this article.)

I received my copy (December 2012) just days before heading out for the boys’ annual allergy testing at the allergist…I brought it along. My allergist was surprised to see that Allerject was almost ready to ‘hit the shelves’…at this point, Allerject was awaiting approval from Health Canada…hopefully becoming available in early 2013.

The allergist wrote a prescription for both the boys for Epi Pens and Allerjects…thus becoming the allergist’s very first written prescription for Allerject.

As the boys’ Epi Pens expired this month…I was eager to get to the pharmacy to fill their prescriptions for Allerject. I was pleased to discover…not only was Allerject available but the pharmacy had an Allerject trainer.

I have to say…I think the pharmacist and her assistant were just as eager to try out the Allerject trainer as I was…it was very cool.

My favourite quote from Mary Esselman’s article:

” ‘When I see it come in front of me in a pharmacy bag, that’s when reality will set in,’ said Eric. ‘Wow, we finally did something. We did something that we originally set out to do that one day when we were sketching a credit card thing with a retractable needle on a napkin. That’s when I think I’ll be most excited.’ “

Surprising my boys with the Edward twins ‘dream come true’…their very own Allerject…priceless!

Allerject fits in the palm of your hand.

Allerject fits in the palm of your hand

Michael just loves it…perfect for a teen that is uncomfortable carrying around a bulky auto-injector. Allerject has fit into his life at an ideal time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you for dreaming big…thank you for following your dream…thank you for proving that taking what you know (I need to carry an auto-injector because I have anaphylaxis) to solve that which you don’t know (how can I improve this auto-injector so it is easy to carry around, easy to use and teen friendly) is do-able…that dreams really can come true no matter how big.

P.S. I have just received my free Allerject trainer to practice with my boys, family members, friends and staff at my boys’ high school. Yippee!

Allerject trainer to the left and an actual Allerject auto-injector

The Allerject trainer is well marked and a totally different colour than the actual Allerject.

I will be heading to the high-school today with a letter outlining the boys’ new auto-injector…Allerject. I will be speaking to the Vice-Principal to discuss the best method of training for the administration of the Allerject to the boys’ immediate teachers and overall high-school staff. I hope they are excited about this opportunity as I am!

P.P.S. The United States equivalent to the Allerject is called the Auvi-Q. Click here for a link to their site.

Will you be choosing the Allerject/Auvi-Q for your next auto-injector for yourself or your child? How will the Allerject/Auvi-Q make a difference in your life? If you have one already…what do you think?