Eradicating Childhood Food Allergies
09
September

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , /


>>She had her first episode when she was
2. It was a quick diagnosis as to her allergies: dairy and eggs. Living with that diagnosis
was confusing and scary because we were never quite sure when something was gonna happen.>>She loved art. She loved music. She loved
plays. She loved sports. She was so involved in her life, it was just — that’s what made
it so incredibly hard for us was that — she was a wow.>>When Isaac was first diagnosed at a year
old, he was found to have severe allergies to milk, to eggs, to peanuts and to treenuts.
It began a life of…a different kind of life, suddenly terrifying, never thinking that a
little…couple of bites of French toast could cause you to have to rush your child in the
ambulance to the hospital.>>Food allergies have risen dramatically
in the last 20 years. Twenty years ago, it was 1 percent maybe 2 percent. Now more recent
stages are seeing up to at least 6 percent, possibly even higher.>>Azra had just turned 11 when he passed
away. When somebody dies, they say where you know, what do you want to do with donations
so, we said we would like the money to be channeled to food allergy. Because of his
death, we were able to change — completely change — our family’s quality of life and
especially his brother.>>The treatments for food allergies have
been completely revolutionized in the past two or three years. It’s really one of the
most transformative things I’ve seen and I’ve been here for 20 years.>>Patients like Isaac are heroes. In order
to be in a study, you actually need to eat the food that you’re allergic to. So, they
have this reaction, they get really sick, they probably get medicine. Again, this needs
to be done in a place like Children’s Hospital where we’re able to treat a reaction.>>We have to trick your body, reteach your
body that these once harmful things — what the body thought was harmful — is not really
harmful.>>Food allergies can actually kill a child.
That is what I fear the most.>>She ate really fast that night. She wolfed
down her food. There were so many kids there and she was so excited, and so happy.>>It was a pickle and a piece of chicken
and a piece of bread and some juice.>>It was probably the juice that she drank
and they don’t flush the machines through as carefully as would need to be flushed through
for somebody as sensitive as her.>>The incident was like a rattle snake bit
her. It was a hundred times worse than anything that she’d ever experienced.>>What we wanted to do was in some way make
some meaning out of her death and honor her life. To hear about kids go through these
studies and come out being able to tolerate what they’re allergic to, have it every day,
which is something that we want for other kids so that nobody goes through what our
daughter had to go through.>>There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
There will be success in this. We can accelerate that by getting the money to the researchers
and to the labs and have continued great results.>>This is one disease that they can fix.
For so many other diseases that maybe they don’t have any clue or they, you know, they’ve
maybe scraped the surface, but with food allergies, they have gone so deep and they can fix it,
they can fix it. So, if they just have enough money to fund more studies, it will be a different
world.>>It was really amazing, when I could see
that I could eat something that everybody else could eat.>>We used to not really have a treatment.
The treatment was really the families and children had to avoid the food. And now there’s
actually hope.>>We’re just at that edge of all of these
amazing discoveries and really being able to take children’s lives and improve them
on a very large scale. It’s tremendously exciting, but we can’t do it without philanthropy.>>Having hope changes your life and changes
your viewpoint. I get calls and parents call me up all the time “What can I do?” “Is there
anything out there I can help save my child so he doesn’t have this anymore?” If you asked
me 10 years ago, I would say there’s nothing but now I can tell you there is hope.>>I want to thank CHOP for giving me the
opportunity to take part in these studies. It has made everything in my life easier from
going out to eat to seeing my friends.>>I don’t have to worry that much anymore
about coming in contact with peanuts, and having an allergic reaction.>>Not having to worry about food allergies
is so great. And no more trips to the hospital.>>It has changed my life completely because
I can go out to restaurants with friends. I can have…go to ice cream parlors.>>Hi, I’m Alexis. Thanks to CHOP I can
now eat peanut butter. Bye>>I was at sleep-away camp and there was
a kid who had a birthday cake and I had it. It was really good.


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