Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two True Stories about Food Allergy PALS.

As a mother with a food allergic child, I get a lot of stories from friends in regards to peanut allergies. I love to hear them because it makes me feel that people are listening and developing an understanding and awareness. A Food Allergy PAL is a person that is non-allergic that helps out those that are. This was something that was created by FAAN.  I wanted to share  two stories I heard this week from different co-workers that involve real-life F.A. Pals:

Story #1:
This one made me smile. A lady I know has a 6 year-old neice that is attending a summer daycare through a church. One day the neice offered her aunt some chocolate covered peanuts, and before the aunt stuck her hand in the bag, the neice quickly hid the bag on her side and asked, "Wait! Are you allergic to peanuts?" The aunt said she was kind of taken aback and that she immediately thought of me and my son. She said to her neice, "No, I'm not allergic to peanuts." The neice replied, "Ok, good! Because it would have been bad if you had eaten one!" Then she and her neice talked about peanut allergies off and on for the following few hours.

I was tickled by that! We never figured out how her niece managed to learn of peanut allergies. All I could think of was that there must be allergic children in her daycare class and the teachers are teaching the kids about the dangers of food allergies. I think it's fantastic that kids, even at that young an age, are becoming aware and learning how to prevent their friends from ingesting dangerous foods!

Also, the earlier they learn, a better understanding and tolerance they can build. Which brings me to...
Story #2:
I'm not fond of the situation that occured in this one, but I was very glad to hear the outcome. This one has been through two other people before it reached me, so the details are probably different but the general idea of the woman's attitude holds true.

Apparently there was a birthday/holiday party at a local daycare. This daycare sent out notes to all the parents saying they had children with food allergies and gave them instructions on how to read food labels and a list of safe/unsafe foods. That impressed me because I have been dreading the classroom parties for when my son starts kindergarten this fall. Another thing that scares me is the attitudes, misunderstanding, and intolerance from the other parents. Which is what happened next...

One lady apparently did not read the letter and brought a box of store bought cookies LOADED with peanuts. When the teacher politely told the lady that she couldn't accept them because they had allergic kids, the woman became unglued and irrate. She said was put out of her way to buy those cookies and then informed the teacher that it was a pain to change it or buy something else, and the whole thing in general was a pain! All this said with a raised voice. The teacher told her that she understood her situation and asked then woman if she could kindly understand the situation of the allergic students. The woman was still irrate.

Needless to say, one of the mothers of the allergic kids was standing nearby and heard every word. If it had been me, that little anger monster inside of me would have grown 20 ft tall and I would have marched over to that woman and told her that my child's life is well worth the trouble of not accepting her $3 box of death, but that would probably would have just made the situation worse.

The best part of the story is this: the teacher finally told the woman that her attitude in the situation wasn't appreciated and asked her to leave the daycare immediately. And she did. So CHEERS to the teacher! I wish I knew who she was, because people like her are heroes to me! I really hope that my son gets a teacher that's just as great and understanding.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my stories as much as I did. And remember, keep reading every label!! Have a safe and happy summer!

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