A note from Ria Sharon of Checkmytag.com, and note from me on what it’s like to be an allergymompreneur
Most of our friends and family are amazingly thoughtful and ask, “Is this safe?” before they give our little guy anything to eat. A few just give me the box so I can check the label. But almost all will admit their discomfort with making the call themselves, partly because they are not sure what to look for when they are reading packaged food labels.
Next week is Food Allergy Week so we are making extra efforts to promote food safety for our food-allergic friends and loved ones. The Spring issue of our bulletin, Be Aware. Be Safe. is devoted to taking the mystery out of the new labeling laws. Please help us raise awareness and understanding of food allergies, by passing this .pdf along to your friends, co-workers, educators, and childcare providers.
Also, visit our Community page, http://www.checkmytag.com/community.html beginning May 20th to read personal accounts from the blogosphere on how food allergies have changed the daily lives of a growing number of families.
Thanks for helping to keep kids safe,
Ria is a very warm and helpful individual. Please check out her site! It is not just about “selling shirts” for her.
Someone recently accused me of only doing this blog to direct people to my allergyware.com site. She didn’t say it accusingly, but rather matter-of-fact. As if. :( Why do I make the shirts? Why did I do it in the first place? Because allergies are a “growth industry?” Because I was looking to make a quick buck? C’mon. My kid could DIE if he eats a peanut. There were no shirts at all out there for sale except from England, when he tested positive for peanut. What would YOU do?
Honestly, it is issues like the above that I am using this hiatus to think over. I don’t want anyone to think that it is my desire or motivation to profit from my son’s life-threatening allergy. The fact is, I’m not a millionaire who can set up a fund to research the cure. I do not have the time to volunteer a lot and do a lot of political stuff, plus I do not have the temperament for it.
What I am is a writer with a degree in accounting. I am a business person by training and a story-teller by birth.
I write this blog and I sell tee-shirts because I buy the tees myself. My kid also wears shirts by other allergymompreneurs. He took his first field trip today with his medicine in a bag from allergykids.com (thanks, Robyn).
If you are so cynical that you think for the past five years I have enjoyed some kind of status as Allergy Tee Shirt Emperor, then you are forgetting the heartbreak and daily stress and agony that go along with safe-guarding a child who is too young to speak for himself.
Pushing six years old, he is finally getting closer to being able to speak up for himself to people about his allergy. He still can’t read, give himself his epinephrine shot, or measure out his own Benadryl. He is dependent on any adult in his vicinity to notice if he develops hives, has trouble breathing, his eyes swell up, etc.
So I made him shirts. When he was recently fed a nut-containing brownie at school, I sent him to school the next day in an allergy shirt, in addition to talking to his teachers about what happened. You know what? Call me materialistic & opportunistic and any other “istic” that you want, but I FELT BETTER knowing his shirt said this in big letters:
(this was him four years ago, nearly exactly!)
This is him today, in a Nut Free Zone hoodie:
I love this child. He is not a model, a product spokesman, a clotheshorse, or a mannequin to hang shirts on.
HE IS MY CHILD.
If you think I’m doing this blog and doing my shirts for the money, or you wonder why I don’t do more: I am doing what I can, where I can, with what I can.
I love my children, all three of them, and I am doing my best. This blog is filled with photos, links, articles, podcasts, recalls, news, you name it. I am doing my best. I doubt I will ever give up the blog, but for now I am not in the frame of mind to do videos or audio podcasts. I probably will again. I do not feel like I am “done,” you know? But my time is sort of maxed out right now.
Now head on over to Ria’s site, or any of the awesome Allergy Mom (and Dad) sites listed in this blogroll.
Sorry for the tangent, but I think it deserves to be said: Allergy Moms who started Allergy businesses have their hearts in the right place. They should be commended, not distrusted!