author of Feeding Eden

The FARE New York City Annual Spring Luncheon

I wrote this piece for the fantastic site, last week, after the FARE Spring Luncheon:

FARE Spring Fundraiser: Reflections from a Table Near the Front

APRIL 20, 2013 1 COMMENT

By Susan Weissman

As a long-time but no-less-weary food allergy mom, author and advocate I’ve attended the FARE Annual Spring NYC Luncheon for several years running. Yet there were years when I didn’t know why I was there until it was nearly over and the chairs were being rolled back. Why take the time and energy to show up at a food allergy event, if even for a few hours, when we food allergy parents have to contend with our day-to-day meal and safety logistics? I can mail in my check and eat my sandwich in the comfort of my kitchen while participating in several online food allergy support groups as is often the case normally. In contrast, the FARE Luncheon is gathering of the food allergy community – doctors, parents, family, and supportive friends. It is a crossroads of fundraising, education, advocacy, and self-assessment. That is a lot to take in when you live in the trenches of a medical condition. And yet, clichéd as it may be, I’ve always come away with an invigorating sense of community. So I return.

Most years, the keynote speaker is someone who may be a rock star to the audience, but is laboring in relative obscurity as far as the general public is concerned to free our children from this infuriating condition. But this year it was Dr. Kari Nadeau, whose work is riding a current wave of publicity because of a recent cover story of the New York Times Magazine.

Coincidentally, I began my day in Brooklyn attending my daughter’s 8th grade science project exhibition – a research-based display of scientific hypothesis presented in the school cafeteria. These teenagers had tested the physical, biological and psychological properties of various subjects, including their peers. Then, a subway ride and five hours later I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Nadeau speak about her science project. She, her colleagues, and her “subjects” had just completed the first trial phase of a treatment combining oral immunotherapy in conjunction with the drug Xolair. The trial brought the children participating from anaphylactic levels of reaction to varied tolerance, which in this crowd spells progress and hope.

Inspiring though she is, Dr. Nadeau is realistic. At one point she reminded the crowd, “We are only as good as our research allows us to be.”

... continue reading on Asthma Allergies Children


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