Many of you may already be familiar with the Food Allergy Initiative. It is a wonderful organization dedicated to raising funds for food allergy research and awareness. FAI has outlets in New York, Seattle (Northwest) and here in my hometown Chicago (Midwest). Last November FAI Chicago raised an unprecedented $1.2 million dollars in its very first annual benefit. The group also honored David and Denise Bunning for all their hard work and advocacy toward finding a cure for food allergies. $1.2 million dollars is an outstanding amount of money for any benefit, let alone for an organization’s first crack at it. Where did the money go? Toward fully funding four groundbreaking food allergy studies. Given the fact that the National Institutes of Health has earmarked only about a few million dollars toward food allergy research, this is an amazing accomplishment. The studies are:
Peri-Pregnancy Diet and Nut Allergy in the Growing Up Today Studies
Impact of PAF Action blockade on experimental peanut-induced anaphylaxis
Tolerance to Peanut in High Risk Children (LEAP Study)
Therapeutic Effect of Chinese Herbal Medicine on Food Allergy
If FAI Chicago decided not to host the 2008 benefit, there’s a good chance these four studies by leading scientists would not have occurred. Three incredible and talented Food Allergy Mamas poured their heart and worked around the clock to pull together an amazing committee of volunteers, corporate sponsors and donors. Hats off to Suzanne Freidland, Eun Lee and Susie Hultquist; parents of food allergic children everywhere are deeply indepted to your hard work.
Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work for the Second Annual FAI Chicago Benefit. It is still in the early planning stages but we have a date: October 24, 2009. Even though our economy is facing its worst crisis in decades, it is now even more important to rally together to fight for food allergy research. I believe a cure for our children is in our foreseeable future. With your help we can all make a difference, big or small.
There are several ways to help FAI Chicago:
If you live in the midwest/Chicago area please join our committee and help where you can. This is a fabulous event that attracted a lot of big name corporate sponsors as well as local media. There are so many ways to contribute your time and talent. We’re all busy mamas, I know firsthand, but together we can pull together another amazing event.
Get on our mailing list so we can send you updates and/or an invitation. We also would love to know any other food allergy families that would like to receive an invititation. The event sold out early last year, but we hope to have a facility large enough to accommodate everyone who wants to be a part of this exciting evening.
If you have something to donate to our dynamic auction please email me on my contact form. Again, no donation is too big or too small. Maybe you could purchase a children’s book, show tickets, time at your vacation homes, or even airline miles. Maybe you have a talent to donate; every little thing counts, believe me. I’ve worked on three benefits (unrelated to FAI) and can tell you it’s easy to get creative and package fun little donations into larger fabulous packages.
If you live out of state, or know you can’t attend but would still like to contribute something to the cause please email me and I will get you the information you need. I understand this economy has really taken its toll on all of us and it just isn’t in our budgets to give anything extra. Please know that even if you donate $10 to FAI Chicago for the Benefit, it is extrememly valuable and adds up to big dollars. Last year the benefit committee raised a lot of cash just from people who maybe couldn’t afford a ticket or couldn’t attend, but wanted to give a small donation anyway. IT ALL HELPS.
Finally, I just want to thank all of you, my readers, for always ispiring me with your stories and committment to food allergy awareness. I believe together we can all help each other to make a difference…and someday find a cure so our children can live in a world without deadly food allergies.