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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Trick Or Treat ... Give Me Something Safe to Eat

Today my mother-in-law told us that she has a friend who is going to buy peanut safe treats to give out at Halloween. After hearing many times about our daughter's allergy, this friend decided that she did not want to be responsible for a possible allergic reaction in a child who came to her door.

Though other allergies such as dairy or wheat are also a concern at Halloween, I thought that this was a great gesture. It shows the power of allergy awareness!

We are going to hand out Nestle treats at our door. Nestle actually offers a package of assorted peanut free treats including mini Kit Kat, Aero, Coffee Crisp and Smarties products. Our daughter loves Smarties so this works just fine for her.

As with all products marketed as peanut free, one caution is to not blindly assume that things are safe. In 2006 Nestle actually had an issue with the Coffee Crisp bars in its assorted peanut free pack. An unfortunate reality for parents of allergic kids is that even with peanut free products it is important to be ready for a possible reaction.

We are going to bring Smarties and Dare's Wagon Wheels to all of our neighbours' homes prior to trick or treating. That way we know that our daughter will receive safe treats at each home and we can just relax and enjoy our evening. My wife and the girls are going to be the three little pigs and I the Big Bad Wolf.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Villager of the Month - Jen

The Villager of the Month accolade goes to a person or group that has done something interesting or special for those with allergies.

This month's winner is our neighbour, Jen. Our daughter was invited to her son's first birthday. A few weeks before the party Jen proactively reached out to ask for our Wacky Cake recipe. She then went a step further and told all of the other parents that there would be an allergic child at the birthday party and to avoid bringing peanut snacks.

How incredibly thoughtful!

Jen made four chocolate Wacky Cakes and as always, they were moist and flavourful. These cakes are hardly a sacrifice for anybody and are very helpful for those with severe food allergies. The cake was a hit with our daughter. I think she ate five pieces, though much of the cake seemed to be smeared on her face and her dress!

Just as the party was winding down, an incredible thing happened.

I was speaking with one of Jen's friends and I mentioned that the cake was nut and egg free. It turns out that she has anaphylaxis to peanut! She was very happy to learn that she could actually enjoy the cake with the rest of us.

This was a rare treat for Jen's friend and it was also a pleasant surprise for Jen as she was not aware of her friend's allergy. Consider it allergy karma! You just never know who is going to have an allergy in your circle of friends.

Other parents could really learn from Jen. She simply asked for a cake recipe, advised other parents to bring peanut-free snacks and ensured that whatever else she served was peanut free. She did not fear the allergy. She did not make us feel like she had to go out of her way. As a result we never felt like we were an inconvenience.

Though I did have to be careful of a few egg items on the buffet style party spread, our daughter was really just there to play with the other kids and to eat chocolate cake!

It Takes a Village to manage an allergy! Jen set a great example for parents looking to accommodate children with food allergies.