Eleanor Garrow-Holding has worked, educated, and advocated in the food allergy community for 11 years. She was inspired to start this work after her son, Thomas, was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to tree nuts, peanut, wheat, and sesame; eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) triggered by milk and wheat; asthma; and environmental allergies. In December 2015, Thomas had a food challenge with wheat and passed. He is no longer IgE-allergic to wheat, and after a 3-month trial with wheat in his diet and an upper endoscopy, he has also outgrown the wheat trigger for EoE. We are now trialing milk through July.
As CEO of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Eleanor provides leadership, development, and implementation for all of FAACT’s initiatives and programs, including Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang) – a summer camp for children with food allergies and their siblings that Eleanor founded in 2009. Eleanor has a Bachelor of Healthcare Administration degree from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, and worked in hospital management for 15 years in Chicago and suburban Chicago prior to working in the nonprofit sector.
After Thomas was diagnosed in 2004, Eleanor established a food allergy support group in a southwest Chicago suburb, Parents of Children Having Allergies (POCHA) of Will County, focusing on education and advocacy; chaired the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago in 2007 and 2008; was awarded the FAAN Muriel C. Furlong Award for Community Service in 2008; and advocated in the Illinois state legislature on food allergy and Eosinophilic Disorders (EGID, EoE) issues. Thanks to the efforts of Eleanor and other patient advocates, legislation to ensure insurance coverage for elemental formulas was signed into law in 2007 and legislation establishing food allergy management guidelines for Illinois schools was signed into law in 2009.
Eleanor joined the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network™ (FAAN) in 2009 as Vice President of Education and Outreach, where she oversaw educational initiatives, all food allergy conferences, the Teen Summit, Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang), a Teen Advisory Group, support group development, and more. She advocated for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA) in Washington, DC, with her son Thomas as part of FAAN’s Kids Congress on Capitol Hill. She also advocated on Capitol Hill for the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. Eleanor served on the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) expert panel for the "Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs". Eleanor has also conducted numerous radio, television, and print interviews on food allergy issues and wrote articles for Allergic Living and Living Without magazines. She continues to present at national and regional conferences about food allergy management in school and restaurant settings and educates personnel in schools and school districts across the country on food allergy management in schools. Eleanor has also educated staff from numerous food industry companies and entertainment venues about food allergies, such as McDonald’s Corporation, The Hain Celestial Group, Mars Chocolate North America, and all SeaWorld Parks.
In 2013, Eleanor joined the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders (CCED) as Senior Specialist of Program Management at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. There she led day-to-day clinical operations, clinical research projects, program development, marketing, and development.
Now, leading the charge at FAACT, Eleanor and the FAACT Leadership Team will provide the education, advocacy, awareness, and grassroots outreach needed for the food allergy community. Eleanor serves on the National Food Allergy Management & Education (FAME) Advisory Board, the National Peanut Board's Allergy Education Advisory Council, Sea World's Allergy Resource Team, and Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) Food Allergen Control Committee. In August 2015, Eleanor was inducted into The National Association of Professional Women's (NAPW) VIP Professional of the Year Circle for her commitment to healthcare and nonprofit industries. FAACT is The Voice of Food Allergy Awareness!
Betsy Rinehart was born and raised in New Orleans and attended the University of Virginia, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Government. Betsy worked for Congressman Billy Tauzin (Louisiana) on Capitol Hill before moving to a lobbying firm in Virginia. In 2002, Betsy left politics to follow her lifelong interest in healthcare. She attended the University of Maryland and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 2003 and her Master's in Nursing in 2004, after which she worked as a family nurse practitioner.
When Betsy's son was 13 months old, he was diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds. Although Betsy understood the mechanics of food allergies due to her background in nursing and healthcare, she soon discovered that the world of food allergies had many layers. Betsy became a local advocate for her son at preschools and child care centers, educating about avoidance, emergency preparedness, and the emotional effects of food allergies on children, families, and caregivers. Often, Edward was the first child with severe food allergies at his schools.
In 2012, after moving to Colorado, Betsy became involved with the Poudre School District Food Allergy Task Force, a group of local stakeholders and district employees who prepare comprehensive school guidelines for the entire school district. The group also works on educational programs in conjunction with schools and seeks to support parents, students, and school employees who deal with food allergies. In June 2014, Betsy became a co-leader of the longstanding local support and resource group, I-CAN (Inspiring Children with Allergies Network).
Betsy has seen first-hand the difficulties that can arise in working with schools and caregivers who have not yet experienced food allergies. As FAACT’s Vice President of Education & Outreach, Betsy will oversee food allergy education in schools, support group development, and many other education initiatives. Betsy is committed to bringing more education on the issues that accompany food allergies to our families, communities, and schools.
Sarah Albert, BS.Ed., is a food allergy educator, advocate, and support group leader who specializes in the management of food allergies in the school setting. She has worked with students at the preschool, elementary, middle-school and high-school levels and students with special education needs.
When her son, Cal, was diagnosed with peanut, egg, wheat, dairy, pork, legume, and environmental allergies in 2007, Sarah began an unsuccessful search for local resources for food allergy awareness, education, and support. She decided to put her educational background and classroom experience to work and created her own support group: Food Allergy Connect Support Thrive of Kansas City. She also served on the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network’s Support Group Advisory Council and Support Group Education Committee, and she participated in the Safe@School Certification Program.
After training staff at her son’s preschool about food allergies, she was encouraged by the school’s director to reach out to other schools. Soon Sarah was training staff at schools and organizations throughout the Kansas City metro area, including the Nurses of the Archdioceses of Kansas City, the Kansas Dietitians’ Association, and nutrition services and nursing departments of various metro school districts. She is now Founder and Executive Director of Centerview Food Allergy Management, which trains families and staff at schools, businesses, and other organizations to create safe and inclusive environments for people living with food allergies. Sarah has provided education sessions to the food service industry, libraries, PTA leaders, school principals and administrators, case managers, nurses, teachers, para-professionals, preschool providers, daycare and home-care providers, parents, and staff at other organizations. Sarah has been featured in the Kansas City Star, Kansas City Live, and Fox4KC.
Sarah is excited to bring her education background, love of teaching, commitment to inclusion and passion for food allergy safety to FAACT. She will work with FAACT’s Leadership Team in their mission to provide excellence in comprehensive food-allergy programs.
Lisa is a native of Ohio who currently lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. Lisa has been managing food allergies since 2011, when her oldest son was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy at the age of three years old. Lisa knows first-hand how isolating and overwhelming it can be when you first get a food allergy diagnosis, and she is dedicated to supporting, educating, and connecting other people living with food allergies. Lisa is the Founder of a food allergy group called No Nuts Moms Group and Co-Leader of a local support group called FACES of Michigan. Her passions are her family and educating others about food allergies.
When Lisa’s son was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, she learned as much as she could to educate herself and everyone around her about food allergies. She soon realized that going on play dates with other kids was going to be challenging and searched everywhere for a food allergy group offering play dates for moms and children with food allergies. Lisa’s search ended in a dead end, so she decided to start her own group for food-allergic families looking to meet and connect with others in the area. The word about No Nuts Moms Group quickly spread, and requests for local groups in the United States and Canada came rolling in. Lisa gave other moms a chance to start their own local groups, and now No Nuts Moms Group is internationally known for supporting and connecting people with food allergies. When Lisa started the group, she had no idea about the impact she would make in the food allergy community. Lisa has helped thousands of families across the country.
Lisa has set up educational food allergy booths at local schools and other venues in Michigan. By doing so, she has reached out to other families that didn’t have access to epinephrine for their children and didn’t understand the seriousness of food allergies and anaphylaxis. She also plans food-free events for food-allergic families, such as Halloween and Easter events. Lisa was also instrumental in getting the Stock Epinephrine Bill passed into law in Michigan.
As FAACT’s Director of Support Group Development, Lisa will manage support group development throughout the country, as well as FAACT's education initiatives for the school setting and more. She will also continue to educate and raise awareness for those living with food allergies and anaphylaxis.
Cindy Gordon (aka Vegetarian Mamma) is the founder and recipe creator at Vegetarianmamma.com. Cindy shares gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes, product reviews, and other food allergy information on her Web site, Vegetarian Mamma. Cindy is the proud mother to two little boys with severe food allergies to peanut and tree nuts. Her family loves to spend time in the kitchen creating simple and easy gluten-free and allergy-friendly meals and snacks. They also love to sample new products and share their thoughts on those products.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Eastern Illinois University, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Ohio State University, and experience in Educational Administration, Cindy is a natural advocate for children with food allergies and other special needs. Cindy is a menu planner at Better Batter’s Startglutenfree.com as well as a contributor at mylifewithfoodallergies.com and Gluten Free + More magazine. She is also a brand ambassador for SunButter Company and The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, a preferred blogger for Enjoy Life Foods®, and a food allergy consultant within her community.
As FAACT’s Communications Manager, Cindy will manage FAACT’s social media networks, contribute to other communications, and provide outreach. Cindy is committed to educating, advocating, and raising food allergy awareness among our families, communities, schools, and more.
Stacey Stratton has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Akron. She has eight years of experience working as an Intervention Specialist for children with special needs, and for the past four years she’s been helping children with food allergies. She is using her education and experience to help families communicate and educate about their child’s food allergies.
Two of Stacey’s nephews have life-threatening peanut allergies. Years after they were diagnosed, Stacey started PeanutFreeZone.com to help educate others on food allergy safety and provide products to help increase awareness.
Using her previous experience working in schools, Stacey wrote “Allergies at School” to help guide parents and schools in working together to increase safety. She has also assisted families by participating at several food allergy events throughout her community.
As FAACT’s Publications Manager, Stacey will manage our publications and other communications and contribute to FAACT’s social media outreach. Stacey is committed to educating and advocating for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis, which will include many education initiatives.