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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Hi all -

Karen the Moderator here. I'm sitting with Sara Shannon, mom of Sabrina Shannon.

We're going to do our best to answer your questions and comments in the next hour.

Some of them have been submitted ahead of time, but please feel free to post at any time!

:) Karen

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
For our first question, Gwen Smith (editor of Allergic Living) has asked...

A number of individual parents in places like B.C. and Alberta are trying to get organized to lobby for a Sabrina’s Law in their province. Are you able to help in their efforts from where you live in Ontario?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:25 am
Posts: 11
Location: Ontario
In March 2006, I wrote a letter to Premier Klein of Alberta, telling him that we don’t want to see another child die in the schools. I made a promise to Sabrina that I’d do everything possible to prevent the death of another child from anaphylaxis.

I would be honoured to write a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell in B.C. if those lobbying there think it will help. I would make sure that a copy of the letter would be sent to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health.

I certainly would also make time to go to BC if they want me there to help lobby in British Columbia.

I can’t do it alone though – I need help! :)

Are you BC parents able to get in touch with each other and get something organized? Now that I’m a forum member you can send me private messages. (Karen is going to show me how to use the forum! :) )

Sara

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Sara S (Allergy Advocate)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Thanks Sara! I know that a few other questions have come in from BC and we will try to get to them soon.

Our next question is from "BC Mom", who writes ...

Thank you so much for being the guest speaker on the live chat for Allergic Living! Because of you, many more people are more aware of anaphylaxis to peanuts! Thank you!

My son who is anaphylaxis to peanuts, allergic to soy, tree nuts and peas, started kindergarten this September. It took more than six months to make ready his classroom, have each and every staff member, and teacher in the school trained on the epi pen, etc. My question is do I have to go through this every year before he starts a new grade? My inner voice is telling me you are going to say "yes" and it is telling me that I should but you would think they would automatically do that as he goes up a grade each year. The signs and books on anaphylaxis to peanuts, such as the "No peanuts" sign on the door to the classroom and the various Alexander the Elephant books, epi trainer, etc. I have provided to the classroom, would I have to go through all that when he goes to Grade 1? Would I go about it as if it is a totally new thing or just remind them that he is still anaphylaxis to peanuts and whatever precautions we put together and agreed on should just be carried over?

I know with Sabrina's Law, it would be automatic, but unfortunately it may not be here before he reaches Grade 5, from the looks of things...

Feeling a bit triumphant now but dreading next year...

BC Mom


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:25 am
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Location: Ontario
First, thank you so much for your kind words. Knowing that children in Ontario public schools (and perhaps elsewhere) are safer now makes me feel better, as does knowing that people with anaphylaxis now know who Sabrina Shannon. For me, it means that Sabrina did not die in vain.

To answer your question: Yes, you have to go through this every year, I’m afraid. You have to keep reminding people about life-threatening allergies -- consistently – and it’s worth it – because they are not living with it, and people are forgetful, and they do forget.

Sabrina had a reaction at her public school the year before she died, and the reaction was handled improperly. Looking back, I see that as a warning.

I went to the school to discuss how the reaction was handled, and I was greeted by rolling eyes (sad to say but it’s true). (This person now cries to this day about what happened to my daughter, by the way.) At the time that I was greeted with rolling eyes, I accepted their lack of belief and didn’t feel I could do anything about it, based on my past experience with the education system. My solution was for Sabrina to have complete avoidance of her allergens and hopefully she would not have a reaction at school.

If I had to do it over again, I would have stayed at the school and not left until I’d had a round-table meeting and discussed what happened. I would not accept the rolled eyes. It wasn’t this person’s fault – he was just lacking education. So education about anaphylaxis is KEY!

Sara

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Sara S (Allergy Advocate)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Just wanted to remind those who are here, reading along, that you can post a reply or a comment any time! Don't by shy. :)

Karen & Sara! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:17 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Oh - and BC Mom - I just wanted to add to what Sara said... I have an FA son in grade 3 and one in kindergarten, and it does get a bit easier with time as you get more experienced and the school gets to know you.

Plus I hope that with help from the forum and from other parents, especially those who are empowered by Sabrina’s Law – that you will also feel empowered and know that what you are doing is important. It helps to lessen the burden, I think, if you know that what you are doing matters. :)

Because it does!! (And Sara just said that she totally agrees with me. It could save a life.)

K.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:18 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Our next question is from Bill L, who writes:

My son developed sesame and sunflower allergies at age 6. He has had peanut and treenut allergies since 2 years of age.

How pervasive and problematic is sunflower in our food chain? Does it cross- contaminate easily? Can there be sunflower pollen in honey or in other foods that would be dangerous for him?

Do you think that sesame is being cross-contaminated in all the bread products? I can only find one bread in the large food-chain stores that doesn't have the sesame warning on it. No bagels, no whole wheat breads - nothing with any fibre in it. Our family is severely restricted by these warnings and is losing a nutritious source of nutrients.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:42 am
Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
(Sorry if this comes in the middle of another topic....)

I am in Victoria, and I am definitely game to get some changes in our province. I have been working with my district's school associate superintendents, but I am running into some challeges and would like to see that the policies be universal for the province -- and strong. Count me in for any and all work in BC!
Caroline
Son: 8 years old, anaphylactic to peanuts


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:25 am
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Location: Ontario
Hi Caroline2 -

That's really great! Thank you!

As I said earlier, I think the best thing would be for the BC parents to join together in this fight. And as I also said, I would be happy to provide a letter and even my personal presence, if that would help.

Tap into the other parents who are posting at http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=401 – British Columbia organizing! And take a look at Cindy Paskey’s website: http://www.b-online.ca/ She’s got a section called “Lobby for Sabrina’s Law in Your Province”

What you want to do is IS important, so don’t give up!

Also, did you know about the Alberta "Angels" project? You can look around on the http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=478 post in Schools:Anaphylaxis laws for some background, Karen told me, and also see Cindy Paskey's b!online site - look for the Alberta Angels Project info.

:) Sara

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Sara S (Allergy Advocate)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:25 pm 
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Dear Sara,
I am a teacher and mom of an 11 year old daughter who is anaphylactic. Thanks to Allergic Living and you I am working with an MHA and government on a province wide anaphylaxis policy. My goal is to have Sabrina's law here as they are currently working on the final touches of the policy. It is indeed a journey of awareness and education. Would you also write to Premier Danny Williams? I would love to have you visit our province , do you have an email address to contact you with? Thank you for your courage and commitment to all children.
Sincerely,
Donna Turnbull
Mount Pearl, NL


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:25 am
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Location: Ontario
So, back to Bill L's question... or rather my answer...

I’m not a food expert by any means, so I think what I will do is ask Gwen & Co. at Allergic Living to redirect your question to "Ask the Allergists". I’m hoping that the doctors will have some answers for you.

You might also want to look at the "Sesame" thread on this site, as many people have posted about their experiences with sesame allergy and bread there. The parents on this forum are a great resource, I think.

I wish I'd had access to something like this when Sabrina was growing up.

I felt very much alone with her allergies. She was allergic to soy, all dairy, peanuts, and nuts. She also had asthma, which make her more at risk for a severe reaction.

It's good to get answers to these questions that you have about your child's allergies, so that you get the root of things and feel more in control.

Thank you so much!

Sara

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Sara S (Allergy Advocate)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:25 am
Posts: 11
Location: Ontario
Hi Donna!

Quote:
Would you also write to Premier Danny Williams? I would love to have you visit our province , do you have an email address to contact you with? Thank you for your courage and commitment to all children.


I would love to get Sabrina's Law in Newfoundland, and I would be more than happy to write a letter. And I'd love to visit your province!

Why don't you send an email to Karen the Moderator ( forumadmin@allergicliving.com ) and we will get the ball rolling that way?

Premier Williams became very famous with his appearance on CNN with the McCartneys. Why not make him ever more famous with an appearance on CNN because of Sabrina's Law?? :)

Thank you so much for your kind words. I think that children with anaphylaxis have an amazing courage themselves, every day they go out in the world.

Sara

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Sara S (Allergy Advocate)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Sara,

My youngest is allergic to milk, as well as other foods. I read the article about Sabrina in Allergic Living last year. I actually had a really hard time getting through it without being too teary eyes to read it. I feel that it is EXTEMELY difficult to convince people of how severe a milk allergy can be. Thank you for sharing your story publicly...it really has helped bring some much needed attention to the fact that there are severe allergies out there in addition to peanuts.

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DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I have to tell you all - Sara and I are having a great time right now. :)

A mid-chat thanks to everyone who is participating, whether you are posting or not!

Karen (& Sara)


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