5 Food Allergy Charitable Groups
There are many charities that revolve around food allergies. Some are dedicated to finding a cure, while others are aimed towards raising awareness. Here are five food allergy charitable groups that deserve more attention.
Abbie Benford lived her whole life at risk of anaphylaxis. Despite that, she was always a source of inspiration and energy to those around her. She didn’t let her life be defined by what she couldn’t eat, instead trying hard to make sure she could enjoy new foods that she was able to eat safely. Sadly, she died from anaphylaxis just eight days before she turned 16. Her tragic death is what led to the creation of the KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation, which is dedicated to funding research, raising awareness, and awarding scholarships.
The KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation is dedicated to 3 goals: research, raising awareness, and awarding scholarships. The KeepSmilin4Abbie Foundation is partnered with Harvard’s Wyss Institute to advance research and development efforts in the early detection and treatment of anaphylaxis. They have donated over $100,000 to the Wyss institute, which they have directed towards Project Abbie.
The immediate goal of Project Abbie is to create a wearable device that can monitor a person for signs of anaphylaxis and automatically inject them with a life-saving dose of epinephrine. They will also be able to connect the device to smartphones in order to notify caregivers that something was wrong. To do this, they are trying to understand the physiological and biochemical signs that occur in anaphylaxis.
The KeepSmiling4Abbie Foundation has created an allergy awareness program called “I’m Aware and I care.” In this program, they work together with medical professionals to fund or teach new educational programs about preventing and dealing with anaphylaxis. They help to teach people about ingredients that they should look out for and how to recognize them, how to spot the signs of anaphylaxis, and what they can do to help themselves or someone else who goes into anaphylaxis.
In addition to this program, the KeepSmilin4Abbie foundation also participates in community events, such as the Boston Marathon, in order to educate people and raise awareness for their foundation and their cause. During the holiday season, in order to honor Abbie’s favorite time of year, they have a toy drive to benefit the Boston Children’s Hospital, where they’ve donated over 5,000 toys through this event!
The KeepSmilin4Annie Foundation gives out two scholarships annually, going to seniors from Hopkinton High school that they feel exemplify the same character traits as Abbie. The students who get the scholarships must be “a reliable friend, thoughtful, empathetic, spirited and, of course, have a sense of humor!”
End Allergies Together (EAT) was founded by two families who were affected by food allergies. When these families realized that there were little public or private funds being used to solve the problem of allergies, they decided to create EAT in order to accomplish this goal. They recognize that we don’t know enough about anaphylaxis and allergies to do anything to prevent, cure, or treat it, so they’ve decided to help fill in that gap of knowledge themselves.
EAT donates their money to research. They strive to fund only the most promising research, so that the money they (and their donors) spend can be sure to be put to use in order to make a noticeable difference. They also make sure to diversify their donations in order to increase the chances of helping a breakthrough occur. Their Medical Advisory Board assesses research efforts in order to make objective decisions about which research efforts are the best candidates, and they encourage collaboration so that the research isn’t done in a vacuum, letting it build off the talents of researchers all over the world.
Hayden’s Wish was started in memory of Hayden, a 9-year-old asthma sufferer who died suddenly of Anaphylaxis after eating a peanut. His parents weren’t aware that he had an allergy. They now strive to raise awareness of the link between asthma and allergies as well as fun research into that link.
Hayden’s Wish has two main goals: to raise awareness and to fund research. They are proud of their national awareness program, where they travel around the UK to visit schools and exhibitions to talk about the link between asthma and allergies. They only have volunteer staff, so all of the money that gets donated to them goes directly to research.
In 1993, David Reading, co-founder of the anaphylaxis Campaign, lost his 17 year old daughter Sarah. She had not been diagnosed with food allergies, but did have asthma. She ate a dessert that contained crushed peanuts and within minutes had died of Anaphylaxis. Determined to bring something positive out of this traumatic experience, David went on to help found the Anaphylaxis campaign, which is still going strong 25 years later. Their aim is to “create a safe environment for all people with allergies by working with and educating the food industry, schools, preschools, colleges, health professionals and other key audiences. [Their] focus is on medical facts, food labeling, risk education and allergen management.”
The Anaphylaxis Campaign focuses their efforts in several areas:
They provide a helpline and information services, where they give advice by telephone and email in addition to have resources in several formats to provide information.
They run local support group meetings as well as regional medical meetings
They work with caterers, manufacturers and retailers to raise awareness of food safety practices for allergies to keep people safe from allergens.
They also work to educate institutions such as schools, colleges, nurseries, universities and youth groups in allergy management. They have online training available for individuals, carers and healthcare professionals as well.
They campaign to improve allergy services within the NHS
Action Against Allergy (AAA) was founded in 1978 by Mrs. Amelia Hill. Since childhood, Amelia had unknowingly suffered allergic reactions to many different foods and chemicals. She was constantly ill and in pain, to the point where she had to be bedridden. It got bad enough that her doctor even though she was being poisoned!
After seeking help for many years, she eventually tried an elimination diet and was able to discover and control her allergies, letting her lead a normal life again. She wrote her own story of her fight for health, Against the Unsuspected Enemy, which inspired thousands to share their own stories and express their desperate need for help. Amelia founded AAA in order to provide that help and it has done so ever since.
AAA is dedicated to providing resources to those who need help with their allergies. They provide several services to that effect, listed below:
An information and advisory service, where they provide personalized advice and support via phone or email.
A find a doctor service which helps to connect patients with their nearest clinical experts on allergies.
A sponsorship of online clinic service enables direct advisory contact with allergy consultants and specialist nurses
They participate in the annual Allergy and Free From Show which provides face-to-face contact with experts and they have informative articles and advice on their website.
They also support innovative projects of clinical care which improve the lives of allergic children and their parents and they are developing special measures to help the elderly who are failing to get the help they need elsewhere.
What food allergy charitable groups do you know about? Do you donate to food allergy charity groups? Comment below and share your stories with us! Share your personal food allergy stories with us on our share your story page!