My son has multiple food allergies. On Saturday, we participated in the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network’s (FAAN) Annual Walk and it was an amazing event.
We gathered in Meadowbrook Park in Ellicott City with other food allergy families to walk the two-mile trail that weaves through the park’s soccer fields and playgrounds. The weather was perfect, the attendees were numerous, and the energy was contagious! Everyone was excited to be there to support those who deal with food allergies on a daily basis and those who are working towards a cure. There were even a few celebrities in attendance: Elmo, Zoe, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. My son was over the moon to see and dance with them prior to the walk – the folks from Mix 106.5, including Maria Dennis, provided the tunes. Dr. Robert Wood, director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins, was also in attendance – he’s a bit of a celebrity to us food allergy moms – as were some other local medical professionals who specialize in food allergies. Dennis and Wood were honorary chairs for the walk.
Even without a celebrity presence, though, this is a fantastic event because it brings the community together. It was very encouraging to be surrounded and supported by so many people dealing with the same issue. It doesn’t cost anything to participate, however, walkers are required to register and encouraged to raise money to help support FAAN’s research and educational programs. For me, this event is about raising awareness, educating others and supporting my extended food allergy family.
And having fun, too! I mean, how often do you get to dance with Elmo?
Want to know more about food allergies? Stay tuned for an article in an upcoming issue of Maryland Life. In the meantime, for more information about the FAAN Food Allergy Walks, visit www.foodallergywalk.org. I hope you’ll walk with us next year!