Many parents of food allergic children are involved in the movement to increase food allergy awareness and safety, but I recently read some impressive stories about two remarkable kids who are taking action in support of the estimated 12 million Americans suffering from a food allergy.
Kyle Graddy of Auburn, Alabama is a nine-year-old suffering from a peanut allergy. In September, Kyle will travel to Capitol Hill to take part in the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network Kids Congress as a representative of Alabama, where he will speak with U.S. Senators about his experiences and the issues facing those with food allergies. During his visit, he will also support the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act.
"I want people to understand that while food allergies are real and can be serious, that kids with allergies are just like other kids,” says Kyle about his activism.
Another youngster making headlines is Denver, Colorado’s Sophie Matthews, also age nine. Sophie suffers from allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and fish. To spread awareness about food allergies, she started a group at her school, Kyffin Elementary, for food allergic kids and their friends. The group, “Kyffin Pals”, discusses experiences with allergic reactions and learns how to recognize one in a friend. The group also participates in activities like a “pretend grocery store” where they practice reading labels for allergens and a tour of a real ambulance, to make any real trips to the hospital less scary.
Sophie is also the Child Ambassador for Denver’s Food Allergy Walk, and enjoys creating allergy safe recipes.
It’s great when anyone works to raise awareness about food allergies, but I am especially amazed by kids who are taking control of their challenges and making a positive impact on the rest of the world. I encourage all allergy parents to help their kids take part in raising awareness of food allergy issues.
I’m sure these children aren’t the only ones with amazing stories about living with food allergies. Please share your children’s stories with us!