I am lucky in the fact that I never had bad asthma. I only had it when I exercised too hard or laughed too hard and long. I also experience it almost every time I've had anaphylaxis.
My cousin (who is like the brother I never had) is about 21 years old has the severe (anaphylaxis) peanut and tree nut allergies along with severe hives from shellfish. He also suffers from asthma and has had it since he was a baby. I remember as a baby, whenever he had even a slight allergic reaction, he would cough and wheeze and we or his parents would have to give him 'treatment' with the nebulizer. It broke my heart watching him suffer with his allergies to baby formulas and the rashes he would get as a child; it was very reminiscent of how I remember suffering, except I didn't have the asthma. Asthma medications continued for him into adulthood and I have seen firsthand how allergic reactions that are tied to severe eczema for me are tied to severe eczema and asthma for him.
The first time I had heard of someone dying from asthma was when supermodel Nikki Taylor's little sister, Krissy Taylor suddenly and mysteriously passed away at age 17. At the prime of her climbing road to stardom in the fashion world, her life was cut short from undiagnosed asthma. Just like food allergies, many people are not aware of the serious nature of asthma and how quickly it can take a life. It is up to non-profit organizations like the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to provide educational resources and support to the public.
Founded in 1953, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is the oldest allergy organization in the United States. Bill McLin, AAFA’s President & CEO stated, “Over the past six decades, knowledge about these diseases, methods of patient support and educational tools have evolved, so bringing KFA into the AAFA family will help both organizations meet the growing needs of the people we serve.”
Kids With Food Allergies was founded in 2005 by someone who couldn't be more passionate about the cause. In my opinion, nobody knows food allergies and the effects of asthma more than someone who has experienced it for themselves or cared for someone with these conditions.
Lynda Mitchell, KFA’s President and founder, is the parent of a son with severe asthma and food allergies. She will join AAFA’s leadership team as Senior Director of KFA and will oversee KFA programs within AAFA while helping to expand AAFA’s online programs and services in related disease areas such as asthma. To read more about the merger or to donate to KFA click here.
How Does The New Merger Affect People With Food Allergies or Asthma?
Now that Kids With Food Allergies is a division of The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, there will no doubt be more support for those who suffer with asthma primarily or in addition to food allergies.
The merger will likely also bring about more research and advocacy for the food allergy community.
My favorite part about this merger is that it brings us, the people who suffer and care for others who suffer, one step closer to the answers we seek.
My hope with this merger is for more support for adults with food allergies or asthma since these children are getting older and many of the kids of years ago are no longer children, but have instead kind of 'disappeared' within the food allergy community as adults. They are among us, yet we would have no idea who they were, if it weren't for Twitter and Facebook. Some, go through so much that they avoid social networks; its these people, especially, who need the support more than we know.
We need to show the older people who still continue to suffer with food allergies just as much love as the children. The challenges are different (i.e. dating, social gatherings, workplace issues and relationships) and need to be addressed.
Hopefully with all the wonderful things going on in the community, the focus can spread to all ages and not just the young ones and newly diagnosed. If you would like to donate or show your support to the AAFA you may do so through their website here.