'Thanks but no, I can't have this'
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would end up as the co-founder and author of an allergy app, and written in a language other than my birth one, having originally come from French Africa. Hi I’m Rita and that’s exactly where life has taken me!
From my first heady days at University as a foreign student where I met David, my best friend and now husband, to my fast paced corporate life as a business consultant, life it seems sometimes has other ideas as to which direction each of us will take, and often the more difficult decisions have unexpected and positive outcomes.
David and I have two beautiful children Isabelle and Michel, and between both of them we have experienced multiple severe food allergies, eczema, asthma, cold water urticaria and more recently fpies. In some ways having both our children with severe food allergies and associated conditions did make the decision on how to manage things at home more decisive and clearer for everyone. Having a toddler and a baby covering seven of the most common food allergens and having experienced the shock of Isabelle’s first anaphylactic reaction, we made the decision to exclude all of their allergens from our home – no nuts, no sesame, no shellfish, no eggs and no milk products at all! Home was our sanctuary, a place where none of us would have to worry about cross contamination or our children accidentally eating anything harmful.
That said there have still been many occasions when I felt as if I was living in isolation and going crazy, with what seemed like constant cries to my children to ‘don’t lick your fingers!’, ‘don’t eat food you don’t know’ and of course our habitual ‘have you got your EpiPens?’.
This sinking feeling was also compounded many times with the ‘what! both of them have food allergies?’, ‘but there were no food allergies in my days’, ‘just let them try a little bit, they will get used to it’ and the ‘but, what do they eat?’.
Although my parents live some distance away, I feel very thankful and fortunate to have their constant support along with my two wonderful sisters, our family, our friends and more recently Lisa and her family to share the challenges. Isabelle and Michel are also the benefactors of this wonderful support network. I have always stressed to them that their allergies are their responsibility and will only be one of many challenges they will face in life. To see them smiling and genuinely happy, being involved at school, with their friends, and even educating others on allergies helps me to easily resolve any doubts and reservations I had about having had to put my career on hold.
I hope that through reading our story you feel reassured that there are others learning as they go along and walking the same road right alongside you. We are just two of those people…
‘No actually, just one bite isn't ok!'
Hi I’m Lisa, half of the team which is AllergyLogic. I have two beautiful children …Olivia and Sebastien, and I am married to Evan, my very supportive husband. Amongst my many roles as a mother, daughter, sister, friend (to many I am happy to say), business owner and designer, I am now also a co founder and author of an app!
A few years ago I had the chance meeting with Rita my AllergyLogic partner and close friend. It was through this serendipitous meeting that I found to my joy and surprise someone whose family was living as we were, balancing that precarious line between cautiousness and diligence on our children’s behalf and facilitating inclusion without compromising their safety or imposing their food restrictions on to anyone else…….Oh the fine line we walk as allergy parents!
I have never met a parent that can truly say hand over heart that the role of being a parent is easy.
Parenting is a demanding role and if like me you have a child with severe life threatening food allergies thrown into the equation, it’s probably a little more challenging and difficult at times than you would like.
We have been in that challenging space many times. Sebastien has 5 of the 9 most common food allergens so I understand how tough it can be, especially in the early years. I can vividly remember the times I would feel distraught at having to leave him for a play date at a ‘new friend's’ home never being certain if the person fully understood that ‘one bite of a biscuit probably would not end well’. Really how can something as innocuous as a cookie possibly be THAT harmful? I would imagine them saying ‘Nice little boy but I think the mother is clearly a little neurotic!’ Maybe I was? I don’t know. All I do know for certain is that I often had that gripping anxiety, while appearing on the outside to be cool and calm...well that was my intention! I was determined Sebastien would carry that fear as little as possible. Over time and with each new experience our lives have become much easier.
Today the story is somewhat different. Here is a snap shot of our ‘little’ Seb who is now a strapping adolescent with a size 13 shoe! He has tried pretty much every sport involving a ball deciding that soccer is his ultimate love! Our beautiful son is focused, confident and happy. He has a wonderful relationship with Olivia, who is in her own right a beautiful, intelligent and very caring sister and with a good dose of keeping it real! I’m not sure as a mother I could ever wish for more? We always aim for that balance between being vigilant and inclusive. AllergyLogic is testament to our hard work. We know our hard work will make your journey easier.
Whatever has been instrumental in you finding AllergyLogic, I’m glad you're here. WELCOME…