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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anaphylaxis Canada Comes To Vancouver!

This past week I had the pleasure of attending Anaphylaxis Canada’s inaugural BC Conference held in Vancouver. The event covered two days, with a training session for spokespeople on Saturday and the formal conference agenda on Sunday.

This was my first Anaphylaxis Canada event and I was immediately struck by the sense of camaraderie and common purpose that the participants shared.

For those unable to attend, there were the NoPeanuts event highlights:

  • Marilyn Allen’s Saturday training session was excellent. She has the utmost credibility in the allergy community and I learned a great deal from her. Marilyn has mastered the art of walking the fine line between firm advocacy and empathy for other stakeholders.
  • Laurie Harada and her Anaphylaxis Canada ‘A-Team’ put on a fabulous event. You are welcome in BC any time!
  • It was very cool to meet several regular readers of this blog. Our conversations will keep me going when I post into the faceless blogosphere at 1am! Thanks for your support.
  • The breadth and depth of the Sunday speakers was excellent. We covered everything from Dr. Janice Jonega’s novel allergy eating plan to BJ Chute’s advice for rural folks to ‘leave the light on’ for the paramedics; and from Dr. Donald Stark’s reminder that ‘accidents are never planned’ to Laurie Harada & Gwen Smith’s advice to generate ‘the right amount of anxiety’ in our kids without instilling fear.
  • Meeting Kyle Dine, of Analphylaxis Canada was refreshing. Kyle is a recent college graduate and has dealt with anaphylaxis his entire life. As a parent of a toddler with anaphylaxis, it is reassuring to see a confident young man who has clearly taken over responsibility for his own allergy.
  • The biggest highlight had to be finally meeting Sara and Mike Shannon in person. At the end of the conference, Sara gave the participants a print featuring angels who deem themselves ‘Beacons of Hope’. We are going to frame the drawing for our daughter, as it was made by Sabrina Shannon in the year leading up to her untimely death in September 2003. Sabrina is indeed our beacon of hope.
Thanks again to the team at Anaphylaxis Canada, the event's sponsors and all of the volunteers. Of course, a big thank you as well to all of those who attended.

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