Tag Archives: Allergies

Help Me Raise Funds for Food Allergy Research

FARE Walk for Food AllergyIf you’ve been reading Speed Force for more than a year, you’ll remember that each fall I participate in the Walk for Food Allergy. Last year, Speed Force readers helped me raise over $1000 for food allergy research, awareness, education and advocacy.

Food allergies are a serious health problem, faced by over 15 million people in the US alone. Severe anaphylactic reaction is a life-threatening emergency. Swelling can prevent breathing, a drop in blood pressure can cause loss of consciousness, and it can even trigger cardiac arrest.


I’ve experienced this first-hand. I left Comic-Con in an ambulance after two sips of flavored coffee that, unknown to the staff at the coffee shop, contained peanuts in the mix. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the emergency room.

Stuck in the ER with a Comic-Con Wristband

I was lucky. Just one week later, a thirteen-year-old died under similar circumstances: while on vacation with her family, she took a bite of something she expected would be safe but recognized the peanuts immediately. She took medication and thought the reaction was under control, only to have it hit harder half an hour later. She never even made it to the hospital.

A simple label would have been enough to prevent both of these incidents. “Mexican Mocha (contains peanuts)” or “Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.”

Walking on Eggshells

We still don’t know what causes allergies, which means we can’t prevent them. The hygiene hypothesis is gaining traction, but it’s far from settled, and advice to parents as to when to introduce high-risk foods is all over the map. We can’t cure them yet, either, though desensitization treatments at starting to show some promise.

For now, those of us who live with severe allergies just have to avoid our triggers as best as we can, and carry those emergency auto-injectors everywhere.

These are the voyages of the USS Epinephrine.

If you know someone who has food allergies, you can help by knowing what’s in the food you serve, using separate utensils and dishes for preparation (if you make a PBJ with one knife, you’re going to get peanut butter in the jelly jar, making the jelly unsafe), and letting them know if you plan to substitute an ingredient.

Support FARE

You can also help by donating to FARE*, an organization dedicated to food allergy research and education. They fund research into identifying the causes of allergies and finding treatments. They provide training materials for the food industry. Over the last few years they’ve been pushing for stock epinephrine in schools, since many allergic children experience their first anaphylactic reaction at school, before they’ve even been diagnosed with an allergy. This year they’ve also been trying to combat allergy-related bullying.

Please sponsor me in the walk. Your donation will help FARE work toward long-term solutions through research and more immediate solutions through education and advocacy. If you can’t donate, but would still like to help, I’d appreciate it if you’d spread the word. Please use this link: http://hyperborea.org/allergywalk

And who knows? Maybe it’ll turn into another Superman-Flash race

Thank you for your support,

*FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) is the merged organization made up of what used to be FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) and FAI (Food Allergy Initiative).

It’s That Time Again! Help Me Support Food Allergy Research

Best Food Forward by Jason RogersLast year, Speed Force readers helped me raise over $1000 for food allergy research, awareness, education and advocacy by sponsoring me in the Walk for Food Allergy. The walk was a success, and even got a bit of a Superman/Flash race: My son and I were both wearing Flash T-shirts, and we started off next to a family wearing Superman shirts!

This year’s walk is coming up in October, and so I’m reaching out again.

Food allergies aren’t like hay fever, and they’re more than just hives. Anaphylactic shock can kill in minutes.  I have a severe allergy to peanuts, and I always carry an epinephrine injector everywhere I go, just in case I miss something on an ingredient list, or in case someone preparing the food mixes things up.*

There’s no cure yet for food allergies, and researchers are still trying to determine just what causes them in the first place. 15 million people in the US alone have food allergies, 6 million of them children. As a parent, it’s frustrating not knowing whether I’m doing the right thing to keep my son from developing the kinds of allergies that I have.

Epi-Pen auto-injector

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network is dedicated to promoting research, awareness and education about food allergies, and providing advocacy on behalf of those living with them. One of FAAN’s big pushes this year has been to encourage schools to keep a spare epinephrine injector on hand — and get laws in place allowing personnel to administer it.  Often, a child’s first-ever allergic reaction happens at school, before they’ve even been prescribed medication. On the research front, they’re supporting a clinical trial in suppressing peanut allergy through desensitization.

Please support my fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation. Even a small donation helps.

If you can’t contribute, but would still like to help, I’d appreciate it if you’d spread the word. Please use this link: http://hyperborea.org/allergywalk

Thank you for your support,

FAAN Walk for Food Allergy

*Mistakes happen more often than you might want to believe.  Last month my family flew to Chicago for Worldcon. The night we arrived, we ate at the hotel restaurant. The kids’ menu featured a Sunbutter sandwich (made with sunflower seed butter), but they brought us an actual PBJ. I don’t know yet if my son has inherited my peanut allergy, but I didn’t want to find out the hard way late at night, in a strange city thousands of miles from home. Thankfully nothing happened, as my wife caught it before he tried to eat it, but if she’d missed it, and he had turned out to be allergic…

Photo Credits:
Best Foot Forward by Jason Rogers (used under CC BY 2.0 license)
Epi-pen by Kelson Vibber

Superman vs. the Flash, for Charity

Thought you’d all get a kick out of this story from the Food Allergy Walk this weekend: My son and I both wore Flash T-shirts. (He “walked” the event in a stroller, since he’s mostly crawling.) As we started off, I noticed that the family walking next to us was all wearing Superman T-shirts.

Technically it wasn’t a race, but for the record: We finished first!

More at my other blog.

Help Me Raise Funds for Food Allergy Research

This doesn’t have anything to do with the Flash, or comics, but it’s important to me. I’ll be walking next month to raise money for research and education, and I hope you’ll sponsor me with a donation.

I don’t talk about it much online, but I have food allergies. Some are severe, some moderate, and some mild, but the worst of them can send me to the emergency room (or worse) if I eat food with the wrong ingredients. It can be tricky at times, but I like to think I do a decent job of striking a balance between not getting myself killed and not hiding away in my house like a shut-in.

That means I carry emergency medication whenever I eat. I don’t go out for Thai food or visit restaurants that leave a basket of peanuts on the table to munch on while you wait. I check ingredients in the grocery store, and I ask the waiter about them when I order food. If I can’t eat one item on the menu, I look for another dish that I can.

Even so, sometimes something slips through, and when it’s a bad one, my throat closes up, making it hard to breathe. If I’m lucky, I take my medication and spend the next few hours anxiously waiting until it subsides, hoping that what I’ve taken was enough. If not, I have to inject myself with epinephrine and get someone to take me to the emergency room. Thankfully, it’s been years since I’ve had a reaction bad enough to send me to the hospital.

I’ve also got a ten-month-old son. I’d like to spare him from having to deal with all that, if I can. If I can’t, and he develops serious allergies like I have, I’d like to help smooth the path for him as he learns how to live with them — or, better yet, help find a cure.

So I’m participating in the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy to raise money for research and education, and I hope you’ll sponsor me. Continue reading