Food Allergy awareness month – start the conversation and tell your story


As a parent you only have to watch your child struggle to breath once and see the pleading look in their eyes begging you to help which changes your life forever. It was that experience along with the look of concern on my daughter’s kindergarten teacher years later that motivated me to start TRIGGER Food Allergy Awareness.

While discussing food allergies with Mrs. Eccleston, who was unaware of my filmmaking background, she simply expressed her wish that she had something ‘to show parents who don’t understand or are unaware of the dangers of food allergies. She rightly said handing out pamphlets was one thing but they may not read it or have the time too. ‘What was needed was something to show people how really dangerous this medical condition can be.’

While discussing this with her I quickly realized that the stress and concern we experienced as parents trying to keep our daughter safe each day was then transferred onto her teacher, who experienced the same worry while in her duty of care every school day. The look of concern in her eyes was the same look of concern in my eyes and those of other parents of children with food allergies. Luckily, most parents don’t have to watch their child struggle to breath but for parents of children with severe food allergies this is a reality and it can happen at any time and multiple times in the course of raising them.

After the discussion with Mrs. E, the seed was planted. The intent was to make a short documentary film and place it online so that everyone could access it and use it to raise awareness. That was the beginning and nearly three years later, TRIGGER has become an independent awareness initiative and put me on a path I never expected to be on.

This May – Food Allergy awareness month – start the conversation and tell your story.

If a waiter or waitress rolls their eyes at the words ‘food allergies’ while you are ordering, don’t take offense – instead ask them if they have some time for you to explain your situation and how they play a vital role in keeping you or your child safe? Most people do not mean to be dismissive or rude, they just don’t realize how important it is. They may not know that unlike other medical conditions, food allergy sufferers rely on the public’s level of awareness to help keep them safe

A study by the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute asked teenagers with food allergies what could make living with food allergies easier? Was it a nut-free place to eat or special concessions? Nearly 70 percent said that educating their friends would make living with a food allergy easier.

Food allergies are manageable but it’s easier when people understand the vigilance needed to keep sufferers safe.

Many years ago I made a promise to myself that I would do my best to make living with food allergies easier on our daughter and children like her, years later I made a promise to myself that I would do my best to try and make the vital responsibility placed on teachers to protect children with food allergies, a little easier if I could.

This May I hope you make a pledge to raise awareness and it can be as simple as telling your personal story and helping people understand. – Grace Farah


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