But I want briefly to focus some attention on food allergies, as my family and I will be participating tomorrow in an allergy awareness walk here in Louisville organized by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization.
My oldest son (he's 8) has a peanut allergy. We found out about this allergy when we gave him peanut butter on a cracker when he was a year and a half old. Although we hoped he might outgrow his allergy, it is clear now that this is a condition he has for life.
I am, of course, aware that, in terms of child maladies, our oldest could be dealing with something far worse. But, and this is the fear always in the back of our minds, the potential is always there for him to ingest peanuts accidentally or unknowingly, particularly given that peanuts lurk in many unexpected places. Our fears are made more acute by our frequent contact with people and groups who don't understand food allergies or - and this is worse - don't care about them.
There's been an exponential rise in peanut allergies in recent years; the number of children with peanut allergies in the U.S. tripled between 1997-2008. Because of this rise in peanut allergies, the school district where we lived in Canada banned all peanut products from school lunches. We quickly learned that such a step was a non-starter here in Louisville, as well as in many other regions of the U.S. In fact, despite the fact that every three minutes a person goes to the E.R. due to a food allergy in the U.S., and despite the fact that contact with peanuts could be fatal for our oldest son, we've confronted a frustratingly prevalent lackadaisical attitude when it comes to our oldest's allergy.
We're participating in the walk tomorrow to raise money for a possible cure for such allergies, as well as to raise awareness about the fact that 1 in 13 children have potentially fatal food allergies and that steps need to be taken to ensure our children's safety wherever they are. If you are able and willing, would you consider sponsoring our walk? I hesitate to ask for money on this blog. But I do so out of love for my son and out of concern for the many kids and adults who face potentially life-threatening circumstances each day. If you would like to donate, the website for our son's fundraising page is here: Isaac Fundraising Page - Isaac's Team Page for 2013 Louisville FARE Walk
Image from www.allergyfreetable.com