Friday, April 27, 2012

A little about us: Crafting for a Cause

This post has gotten ridiculously long, so I have added a party at the end, as an incentive for you to read the entire thing.  Please take the time to read it in its entirety.  This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart, plus you don't want to be the only one to miss the party!

Crafting for a Cause

Chances are, if you are on my blog, you know someone with food allergies.  If not, here is a little information.  Food allergies affect an estimated 9 million (4%) adults and nearly 6 million children, that's 1 in 13 kids.  Every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room and every 6 minutes, the reaction is anaphylaxis.  All of that is just statistics though, and my goal is to put a face to food allergies.  Here is our story.

I married my husband in 2006 and we decided very quickly to have children  I remember, before I became pregnant, thinking one night what would happen if we had a sick baby.  After considering all the possibilities for a few minutes, I thought to myself, If God chooses to give me a baby, healthy or not, I will love him/her unconditionally and do whatever it takes to keep that baby happy.  Now when I look back at this moment, it makes me wonder if this was more than just a perspective mothers worrying.  Maybe I had just accepted the path that the lord had chosen for our family.  This line of thought has always kept me from wondering, why my child.  Please don't misinterpret what I am saying.  If given the opportunity to go back and know what I do now, I wouldn't change anything.  I don't want anyone to feel sorry for us, because we are great!  I know there are far worse things in the world, but no parent wants their child to be sick or hurting ever.  No parent wants their child to be left out, or feel different.  

Our daughter was born in 2007, healthy and happy, except she often refused to eat.  During the next few months, she began having rashes that would cover most of her body.  I noticed that any soap or shampoo I used caused her to break out as well.  The rash eventually turned into itchy, scaly, sores.  One that covered half her face at times.  I took her to Dr. after Dr. and no one seemed to know what was wrong.  She spent 2 months on antibiotics and steroids with no success.  

At 6 months old, she was still refusing to eat, so one day I gave her a bottle of formula in the hopes that she would eat.  Instead of giving my baby the nutrients she needed, I had just unwittingly poisoned her.  She immediately started vomiting and broke out in hives so large that it actually looked more like someone had thrown a pot of boiling water on her.   If I knew then what I know now, the rashes refusal to eat and her eczema were all hinting toward a food allergy.  I was simply uneducated.  

That was the first of many reactions we have encountered over the years.  We ended up spending that first weekend at Children's Hospital in Omaha and from there, found an amazing pediatrician, who has always gone above and beyond to make sure all her allergies and asthma are in check.  He has taken us from the place where I had an itchy, rashy baby to now, where there are no outward signs of her allergies.  She is healthy, eczema free, and her asthma is well controlled thanks to him.

She will still break out in hives if someone were to eat something with eggs or nuts in it and kissed her on the cheek before brushing their teeth and washing their mouth.  The same goes for washing hands and any other surface that has been exposed to either of these foods.  When she has inadvertently eaten something she is allergic to, typically she vomits, followed by hives and if her epinephrine is not administered fairly quickly her airway begins to close.  I can tell you, unequivocally, there is nothing scarier that getting a call at work saying your toddler is sick and walking into the room to find her passed out on the floor, purple.    

OK,  I was trying to keep this short and sweet so I wouldn't loose your attention, but that's not happening.  I'll give you all the KISS version of who FAAN is and why I am Crafting for a Cause.
I hope you will join me.

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) was started in 1991 by the mother of a food allergic child.  Over the past 20 years, FAAN has become an institution in the F.A. world.   It has turned into one of the most trusted sources of information and resources related to food allergies.  When my daughter was finally diagnosed, the information our pediatrician gave me was from FAAN.  you see, it has turned into so much more than just a resource for people with allergies.  It's members include families, medical professionals, governmental agencies, and  both the food and pharmaceutical industries.  It provides education to restaurants and schools about how to safely serve those with F.A. It also has developed a program called be a PAL for both schools and the girl scouts to both educate others and to keep allergic children safe.  In short, FAAN has become the  nationally recognized face between the food allergic and major industries, as well as governmental agencies to help make the world a safer place for my child.  Basically, it is the link that binds us together.  FAAN is also a non profit organization.

This year, my family and friends will be joining me in walking for my daughter in FAAN's yearly fundraiser.  What I am asking each of you to do, if you feel compelled to do so, is is to make one art, craft, or whatever you do, over the next 2 months and at the end of the summer we will be having a craft show/bake sale/sell your wares party in Lincoln, Ne.  

All I'm asking is for one project and then you are done.  If you know me, I may be able to come pick up the items from you.  I set up a page on facebook (see the link above for crafting for a cause) that you can join and I will be updating it with more information as we get organized.  I am hoping to get some drop off locations set up.  If you live farther away, please contact me via the facebook page or leave a comment and we can work out how to get your donation here.

Not crafty or artistic?  No problem!  You can donate to our team by visiting our team page.  Just choose a walker and then click on the Support Me button, or you could donate a new item, like a dinner for 2 certificate or really anything to be raffled off at the event.  If you are not planning to participate, I would love it if you would pass our message along to others whether it be to your church, an organization you belong to, or to another friend.

This little note has become incredible long, so if you are still reading, THANK YOU!  Here is the party I promised.   Did I mention it's a tea party?

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