A mother's viral plea for kids with life-or-death food allergies is one we all need to hear

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.


Some say it's not fair to expect other people to cater to these kids's needs, but when it's a question of life or death, "fairness" takes a back seat. Living in a community should mean caring about the people in it. That's why we create ramps for people in wheelchairs, why we have family restrooms, why we make accommodations for people with developmental delays. Making accommodations for someone who has a life-threatening allergy should be a no brainer.

RELATED: This exciting 4-year trial could be a huge breakthrough in peanut allergies.

In a viral Facebook post, mom Melissa Griffin shared a photo of her third grade son who had been hospitalized after having an anaphylactic response to eating a green bean.

She wrote:

It's that time of year again, when parents begin planning classroom parties and events. It's highly likely you will receive a note from school that certain allergens must be avoided in your child's lunches and/or class party menus.

Your initial reaction might be one of irritation and eye-rolling. I totally get it; what a hassle! However, regardless of how you feel on the inside, please remember you have a CHOICE in how you respond out loud in front of your kids. Your words matter and this is an incredible opportunity to teach your kids some invaluable life lessons.

I've listed some practical alternative responses and the lessons they'll help teach:

1. Education - "Do you know what food allergies are? Did you know kids can get incredibly sick or even die with a single bite? Sometimes it can even happen from touching it."

2. Compassion and empathy - "How do you think Susie might feel in a cafeteria full of potentially dangerous foods? (Scared, anxious) How do you think you would feel at the class party if you were the only one who couldn't eat the yummy dessert everyone else was eating? (Sad, left out, embarrassed)

3. Inclusion - "Joey's Mom gave us a list of safe snacks for the party, which one should we pick? Isn't it great that he gets to participate? Having him at the party is way more important than the food, huh?"

4. Sacrificing your own comfort for a friend - "You get to have cookies or cupcakes any time you want. I'm proud of you for going without them this one time. How did it feel to see how happy Sally was?"

5. Healthier relationship with food - "The holidays are about friends and fun. The focus shouldn't be on the food anyway, right?"

6. Gratitude for their own health: "You know, we're really blessed that we can eat whatever we want and always feel safe at mealtime. Aren't you thankful for that?"

Don't miss these lessons by choosing to grumble about not getting to pack PB&J sandwiches or not being allowed to bring cupcakes.

EVERY child has the right to be safe and protected at school. It's scary releasing our food-allergic kiddos into the public school classroom.

On behalf of all parents of food-allergic children, thank you for choosing empathy and inclusion this school year and leading your kids to show the same! ALL of our kids are better off for it.

I've seen people complain about not being able to send the food their child likes to school with them. I've seen people say that peanut butter (or fill-in-the-blank allergen) is one of the only things their child will eat, therefore it's unfair to ask them to not eat it. I've seen people say that kids with allergies have to look out or themselves and that it's not their responsibility to keep someone else's child safe.

RELATED: It's not easy when you're a kid with diabetes or food allergies. Here's something that helps — a lot.

If you were standing near a roadway, and saw a child starting to run out in front of a car, would you not do everything in your power to stop them? Or would you not bother because it's not your responsibility? In my opinion, making sure the children around us don't accidentally die is just part of living in a civilized society.

In short, don't be a jerk about people's food allergies. Yes, it maybe inconvenient, but inconvenience is a small price to pay to help keep a child safe.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less

On February 19, 2020, a group of outdoor adventurists took a 25-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During the trip, they had no cell service and no contact with the outside world. When they ended they ended their journey on March 14, the man who pulled them ashore asked if they had been in touch with anyone else. When the rafters said no, the man sighed, then launched into an explanation of how the globe had been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and everything had come to a screeching halt.

The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

The rafters' story was shared in the New York Times last spring, but they're not the only ones to have had such an experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less