A Year Worth Remembering and a Bright Year Ahead with FAACT


by Eleanor Garrow-Holding, FAACT President & CEO

I think we all feel a bit like that character in "Groundhog Day" who wakes up every morning to relive the same day. The fatigue of this pandemic is weighing on all of us. But there IS good news: vaccines work and are available to everyone ages 5 and up. Masks work to slow the spread of the virus. Together, these tools have kept most schools open and our kids where they learn best. I am hopeful that in-person learning will continue in 2022 and grateful that FAACT could help so many families keep kids in school safely this year.

Our accomplishments in 2021 included: 

  • Published 50 new episodes of FAACT’s Roundtable Podcast with important conversations about managing food allergies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Topics ranged from supporting your family’s mental health to accommodations in schools, managing holidays safely, and more.
  •  Launched our new College Resource Center – a comprehensive toolkit for young adults living with food allergies and their families. The FAACT team met with parents, students, young adults, mental health professionals, lawyers, dining services, and college administrators to better understand the management of food allergies during the transition from high school to a four-year college, community college, trade/vocational school, or directly to the workforce. The College Resource Center offers a vast array of resources for your family, and we are so proud to bring it to you.
  • As parents prepared for students to return to school, FAACT’s Civil Rights Advocacy Division worked with leaders across the nation to keep families updated with the latest information while offering one-on-one support to families who experienced accommodation issues in schools, including issues related to Covid-19. FAACT has assisted over 6,000 families since 2014, including 600 families last year!
  • Hosted Camp TAG virtually during the summer and during the winter school break to keep kids and teens with food allergies, eosinophilic disorders, and asthma – and their non-allergic siblings – connected during a trying year. We took Camp TAG to new levels as children laughed, sang, learned, and made new friends.
  • Worked with FAACT’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board to better serve every person in our food allergy community.
  • Expanded our resource centers for Behavioral Health, Civil Rights Advocacy, and Education to meet your family’s changing needs.

I am so excited to be starting 2022 with FAACT’s expanded leadership team – and all of you. FAACT had a successful 2021, and we are excited about the programs and initiatives we have planned for 2022. 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.

I am also excited to announce our upcoming events for 2022, including FAACT’s Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang), Leadership Summit, and Teen Retreat. These in-person events are great opportunities to share experiences and learn from experts. But FAACT offers many other services for children, teens, and parents affected by life-threatening allergies. From civil rights advocacy to community outreach, FAACT is here to help you and your family live happy, healthy, fully involved lives. Here are a few highlights of what FAACT offers:

  • Mental Health: FAACT’s Behavioral Health Resource Center offers resources on a range of important issues, from the psychological impacts of living with food allergies to how to listen to your children and teens when they are ready to talk about their mental health. We will continue to create and provide numerous FREE mental-health resources, so keep checking in to see what’s new.
  • 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 to manage in day-to-day life.
  • 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 6,000 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 also 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 2022!