Ever since I discovered that my son was having food reactions to food and medicines as a toddler, I was determined to learn all that I could about food allergies so that I could help him feel better and help other families who are trying to help their children feel better, too.
There have been so many challenges that we’ve had to overcome, and many that we continue to work through. Diagnosis has taken several years. Eventually, our doctor told us that our son very likely has FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome), a very rare form of food allergy where the digestive system reacts, and for which no test is available to detect it before reaction occurs. He reacts to wheat, diary, rice, oats, beans, peanuts, and soy. Eventually, you learn be strong, survive, and then thrive in spite of it. And that’s the key word: thrive.
For the past few years, my goal has been to help children with food allergies participate and be included in all the events and moments of life that make up the memory and experiences of what it is to be human: to have a meal together.
We all have memories of something special that a caregiver made for us, we remember having cake and ice cream with our friends at birthday parties, having pizza after a baseball game, and then those lovely dates with some sort of interesting delicious dinner and a movie. As our kids grow taller, stronger, smarter, and of course, grow up faster than we’d like, they’ll want to keep participating in all the food events of life.
While we wait and pray for a cure for food allergies, we’ll cure exclusion by making what we can have even better, and by achieving public compassion and peer support that will last a lifetime. With this book, peer support is the goal. Fellow classmates are often the best support system a kid can have. This book encourages the development of that support system by teaching kids how to help and understand their classmates who have food allergies. Kids with allergies can share this book with friends and caregivers. It is even a great reference to have on hand in every kitchen!
I am deeply grateful to Bruce Larkin with Wilbooks for believing in this mission and for providing the first opportunity to do more than I could do by myself. I am so appreciative of Angie Scherffel for her constant friendship and dedication – who has been integral to making this happen and for which I am proud to call VP, Board of Directors as we move toward establishing Safe Eats as a nonprofit. I’m ever grateful to friends and family who are constantly encouraging me to write and who are always helping us during our toughest moments. Mama A and Papa, my Aunts, Uncles, and Grandmas, Danny’s Family, and my Mom and Dad – they perhaps taught me the meaning of home meals and memories more than anyone else. Kathy and Kristy – two beloved souls that deserve nothing less than a lifetime of our thanks and payback. And, of course, the two loves of my life: my fiance’, Dan Sanders, who has stepped up to the role of being the love of my life and possibly the most loving, generous, and involved father a little boy could ever hope for.
And my son, who I would never have imagined could turn my life so completely sideways in the most crazy and good way imaginable, inspiring everything I’m doing, who tells me nearly every day “I love you so much that there is no number in the universe that could say how much I love you.” I am so very proud of him. He has been so strong through all of the symptoms and trials. He makes us stronger. He is somehow able to forget all he’s been through with a big happy grin on his face that makes the hearts of tough men melt. ❤
Loving support of book orders will be personally signed by the author and proceeds will go toward education and helping other families with food allergies THRIVE. 🙂
The book can be ordered at http://www.safeeats.org.
For large orders and excellent ideas for reading activities for kids, please visit http://www.wilbooks.com.