Blog

A Year Worth Celebrating

EGH

by Eleanor Garrow-Holding, FAACT President and CEO

At times if felt like that old adage of “two steps forward, one step back,” but I think we were all delighted by the progress in getting people back to school and work safely while navigating Covid challenges. I am hopeful that we’ll see continued progress in 2023 and grateful that FAACT could help so many families navigate these challenges safely last year.

There was even more to celebrate in 2022 in the food-allergy community.

Inspired by you, FAACT continued expanding our offerings to meet changing food allergy needs, including:

  • Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang), a summer camp for children with food allergies and their siblings, celebrated its 12th anniversary with in-person summer camps (finally!) in Ohio and Tennessee plus a virtual camp attended by youth representing 30 states.
  • Our seventh annual Teen Retreat was also in person in Oak Brook, Illinois, and was a huge success, attended by teens and families representing 20 states and Canada.
  • FAACT’s Food Industry & Research Summit brought together colleagues and stakeholders across the food industry and provided an open forum to explore ideas on how to safely meet the needs of the food allergy community.
  • FAACT's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resource Center launched in July 2022 to help support every part of our food allergy community. The resource center offers action-oriented information for support groups; ideas to help healthcare professionals provide inclusive services; thought-provoking materials for individuals, families, caregivers, educators, and students; and exercises to help us all grow our thinking in more inclusive ways.
  • FAACT's Civil Rights Advocacy Resource Center educates and informs food-allergic individuals about their rights to safely and equally participate alongside non-allergic individuals. FAACT has assisted over 6,500 individuals – a COMPLIMENTARY service to everyone.
  • FAACT's school programs, educational posters, and resources are also FREE and downloadable in our Education Resource Center along with our College Resource Center.
  • FAACT's Behavioral Health Resource Center offers helpful tools for all ages on topics that range from navigating a new food allergy diagnosis to eating disorders and coping skills. All toolkits, one-pagers, and guides are FREE and downloadable.
  • We launched FAACT's Roundtable Podcast in April 2020 to stay connected to the community during a trying time – and it's still going strong today! We publish a new episode every Wednesday and have 145 episodes to date with leading experts, parents and caregivers, advocates, support group leaders, teens, children, and more. Don't miss out!

I am so excited to be starting 2023 with FAACT’s expanded leadership team – and all of you. Building our education, communication, and peer support programs are critical to achieving our mission to educate, advocate, and raise awareness for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Here are a few highlights of what FAACT offers:

  • Education: FAACT is dedicated to food allergy and anaphylaxis education. We provide outreach, training, and support to public and professional communities. Our online Education Resource Center offers a wealth of downloadable educational materials for patients and professionals – including FAACT’s Food Allergy Curricula Program for Schools for grades K-3, 4-8, and 9-12 and FAACTs for Schools Staff Education Program. Education is the most critical step in helping children and adults with life-threatening allergies manage their daily lives safely.
  • Civil Rights Advocacy: One of FAACT’s unique services is direct assistance with civil rights issues at school – at no charge to the families we help. Since 2014, we have helped more than 6,500 families keep their children safe and equally included at school. Our Civil Rights Advocacy Center staff are also available to answer your questions and assist you in seeking accommodations. We can also help you find civil rights professionals in your community.
    • You can find civil rights resources in FAACT’s online Civil Rights Advocacy Resource Center. We put laws, regulations, and agency opinions at your fingertips as well as tools to assist food-allergic individuals in seeking accommodations.
  • Support Group Development: Support groups connect people facing similar challenges and provide an outlet for support on many levels. Sometimes it’s helpful to turn to others outside your immediate circle of friends and family for advice and comfort. I certainly found that to be true when my family was struggling in the early years of my son’s food allergy diagnosis. Support groups can offer emotional support, further education and understanding, provide a place for people to share their concerns, and help reduce anxiety and confusion families might be facing.
    • Click here to learn more about how to find the right support group for you, questions to ask before joining a food allergy support group, or to learn more about starting a support group in your area.

Please stay safe and let us know how FAACT can help you and your family live healthy this year. We're just an email or phone call away.

From our FAACT family to yours, we wish you a healthy and prosperous 2023!