Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day and Food Allergies: Let's Hear It for the Guys

With Father's Day around the corner, I wanted to celebrate the dads, stepdads, grandfathers, uncles and all of the special men in our lives who help our kids with food allergies. Even though this blog has "mom" in the title, I do hear from many dads who are concerned about their food-allergic kids.

These guys deserve to be celebrated for the special things they do to make sure that their kids with food allergies are protected, healthy and loved. So I asked my Nut-Free Mom Facebook page readers to share their stories. I have collected several heart-warming snippets here. To read the Father's Day stories in full, please visit and "like" my Facebook page. The stories are scattered throughout the Wall on my FB page. Please share your own stories in the comments below or visit my page.

Of course I need to start with my own husband, who is the most wonderful dad ever. As soon as we found out about my daughter's nut allergy following an anaphylactic reaction, he immediately decided that the house would be peanut and tree nut-free. As someone who loves peanut butter and almonds, etc. this was tough for him, but he never once complained. He is now a big fan of SunButter. :) My husband calls restaurants, helps out on field trips and has visited the school with me during our yearly health meetings with school staff. He also encourages our daughter to do everything she wants to do in life. We are lucky to have him.

I also want to mention another friend and neighbor who is a chef by trade. He volunteered to make all of the fresh food for our school's 6th grade end-of-year party and he also baked a large, decorated cake for the class. This was all so that the many kids in our class with nut allergies could enjoy the food without worry. He also volunteered to serve the food and help chaperone the party, along with a bunch of other people including his wife and daughter. The party was a huge success and the kids were in heaven. In general, we just cope with not being able to have bakery cakes and much of the food at parties, but that day my daughter didn't have to. It meant a lot to her and to us. Thanks to Tom F.!

Shannon G. from Facebook told us about her husband's efforts to help her 8th-grade daughter with life-threatening peanut allergies:
"Bill (her daddy) has gone above and beyond! ... He is very particular about who comes around her while we are at the races or out in public,he even had yard signs and stickers for the front door made that say NO PEANUTS OR PEANUT PRODUCTS! He is a truly awesome dad and advocate for his children! :) We try to keep her busy and let her have as much of a social life as possible. She wanted to learn gymnastics, Bill enrolled her....she wants to learn the violin. ...shes got a new one!!!! Anything shes interested in Bill does his best and works his tail off to provide it! She couldn't ask for a better dad!!!! Bills the best! :)"
Christi P. had this to say about her husband and also her kids' grandfather (her dad): 
"My husband reads everything meticulously. The first thing he did when we were informed of all their allergies was to find a way to make, wheat-free, dairy-free (and nut free of course) pancakes to keep up with his weekend pancake tradition.
My father, their grandpa (Papa) with my Mom, has been known to drive 2 hours to the Vermont Nut Free factory in order to procure Halloween and Easter treats. He (with my mom) has also driven an hour and a half to babysit my kiddos. It's not always easy to find babysitters when we inform them of their allergies."
Kamisha Y. shared this touching story about her recently deceased dad:
"Our daughter Peyton was two years old when we found out she was allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Peyton ate a half of a half of a cashew and went into full blown anaphylaxis, by the grace of God we was at one of my son's doctors she was able to be treated and rushed to the local children's hospital. Our lives have taken a 360 having a child with food allergies, not only is she allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, but she has a mild dairy allergy also. But my daddy...oh gosh...first let me say he past away Jan 10, 2012 from leukemia. But, before he got sick with cancer he loved all of his grandchildren, but he and my Peyton had a special bond. When he found out that she had food allergies he made it a point to educate himself on reading boxes, and what foods she could eat. Papa (that's what the grandchildren called him) wanted Peyton to be able to feel normal even though her life had changed (she was to young to understand it). My dad made it a point to make sure that everything that came in his house that was eatable was not going to cause an allergic reaction to his granddaughter...and I will forever love him for that."
Lily's Little Gems said:
"I am lucky that Lily's dad is an A& E nurse so he was able to spot what was happening when Lily had her first anaphylaxis from eating some crunchy nut cornflakes. We didn't know at this point that she had such a severe nut and peanut allergy. Since then, we have lots of EpiPen (R) auto-injectors and he has "trained" all of Lily's nursery staff in how to use the EpiPen (R) and how to spot a reaction and what to do etc... He is my rock!"
Joyce B. shared this story:
"My husband has never once complained that we've had to give up all peanut butter products, even though he really misses it and would love to eat it all the time. He's been a real support to me as well, and I've learned to read food labels and as I've been the watchdog at the gate, so to speak, making sure our home is safe for our son. He never looks at it as "things we can't have" but rather, a new opportunity to live a bit differently."
From Tiffany T.:
" My husband sometimes doesn't understand about cross contamination( as I have more time for research), [but he] is very supportive of decisions that I make and guidelines i put into place for her. Her first attack he listened, didn't question, did what I asked ... After the ambulance and hospital and me remaining calm, I put our daughter to bed, scared to leave her and fell into his arms crying. He just hugged me; I asked why are you so calm? He said i knew you had it under control and trusted you every step of the way."

Kimberley B. said:
"My husband has gone to the school and talked to the classes about my son's allergies. He was the one to get the awareness posters approved for the cafeteria. he even drops by to eat lunch at school with my son at the peanut free table, where he always gets to answer the questions about food allergies the other kids have."
Jerri K.:
"My husband goes on so many of the class field trips to make sure our Jake is never excluded and always is accommodated in every activity...he is our sons biggest fan."
Along with the Father's Day theme, I want to introduce you to a new site sponsor: Skeeter Snacks. This nut-free cookie company was started by two dads! Visit Skeeter Snacks to find out more.

Thanks so much to everyone who shared their stories with us! Please let the guys know how much this support means.

Happy Father's Day!


Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Perfectly put, Jenny. Hats off to the dads!

Leona Davis said...

Great post! You really had me going with this one. Also thanks for the ideas. Nice post! :)