Meeting The Governor & Celebrating Food Allergy Awareness With Families Just Like Us!
Yesterday was one of those days that made me sit back and just take in a big, huge breath. It was a day that made my boys feel so special and me feel so grateful... for so many things.
Let me explain.
Last month, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a Proclamation recognizing Food Allergy Awareness Week in our state. And, yesterday we had the incredible opportunity to visit the Georgia State Capitol and meet with Governor Deal to commemorate that signing. What was so special about this? Well, my goodness, it's not every day that my family gets to meet the Governor! But, there was so much more to it than that.
An incredible organization called Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta has worked with the Governor's Office for the past eight years to not only raise food allergy awareness in Georgia, but arrange this meeting each year in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week. The president of this organization - a mom named Karen Harris, who started this group when her daughter was diagnosed with a wide range of multiple food allergies - has worked tirelessly to not only educate and advocate within our community, but bring families like mine together. And, that is exactly what meant the most to me yesterday.
You see, I absolutely loved getting to talk with families who I met as a part of this special day. With children ranging from 1 to 13 years-old, each family in our group was there for the same reason. While our kid's allergies may differ, we all have similar stories and are just trying to figure out how to do the best we can for our children. There is such comfort in having an instant connection with someone who you have literally just met, solely because you walk in the same shoes every day.
And, this doesn't just apply to the adults... I believe it's the kids who feel this the most. I was especially struck by one mom and dad who told me, "Until today, my little girl had never met another child with her food allergies." Can you imagine how this precious little girl felt when she saw that she was not alone? There were a handful of other kids standing along side her, with the same fears and limitations as her, and yesterday, she was not only made to feel extremely special, but she wasn't so different.
I'm grateful that Karen had the courage to create a grassroots support group that has blossomed into an organization that now has the ear of the Governor of Georgia. I'm grateful for those special friends who I've met in the most interesting and unexpected ways, all with their own stories so similar to mine. And, I'm so grateful that my boys live in a time when we are making so much progress. The future really is bright for them.
So, what's my biggest takeaway from this day? When, we work together, we can do so much. And, finding that community is crucial. If you are looking for a place where you and your kids can feel understood and not so alone, reach out. Take that step and try to make those connections in our food allergy community. And, don't be afraid to keep speaking up. Days like this prove that it is so incredibly worth it!
For more on Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, check out their website at www.foodallergykidsatl.org. And, if you live outside of the Atlanta area and would like to find a local or virtual support group near you, click this link from FARE's website for a group finder tool!
meeting the Governor was pretty awesome, for starters. So, We could not be more grateful to Governor Deal for helping spread food allergy awareness in our state and for taking the time to meet with us today. And, we are especially thankful to Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta for making this day possible and for being such a beacon hope and light in our community. This is a day my boys will never forget!