Ella 6 years old
Our daughter Ella was diagnosed with severe food allergies at age 2 (She is now 6 1/2) – peanut being her most severe as we witnessed it first hand when she went into anaphylactic shock from a jelly bean size amount of peanut butter. Our world changed quickly as we were no longer worried about Ella hitting her developmental milestones, but rather could we keep her safe from deadly foods that are so common in our everyday lives. For the last 4 years we have been “helicopter” parents – always packing our own food and never letting her partake in birthday parties or other special event food unless we could read the ingredient list. This has been challenging on my husband and I, as well as extended family, teachers, close friends and all involved in Ella’s life, and especially Ella, as she feels left out and disappointed to not be able to fully engage in activities “like the other kids”. When we heard about the New England Food Allergy Center peanut study we jumped at the opportunity to enroll Ella and try to introduce the allergen rather than avoid it and be fearful. The study has truly changed our lives for the best. Ella has successfully hit the 383 mg level and is tolerating it extremely well despite her blood work from 1 year ago showing her peanut allergy of over 100. Ella had her first Dunkin Donuts munchkin 2 weeks ago at her kindergarten graduation (yes, a small thing to most of us, but a big triumph for Ella as she has never had a munchkin due to possible accidental ingestion knowing that Ella will tolerate it without the need for an immediate, life-saving emergency response – this is such a blessing in our lives. The doctors and staff at NEFAC have been wonderful to work with – very supportive and always there to answer questions and help us navigate the cross contamination). We all (extended family, close friends, teachers) feel more confident in the event of a small study based on Ella’s needs. I would highly recommend it and look forward to enrolling my 4 year old son next year!