Every week any blogger worth their salt is bombarded with emails from individuals and companies wanting to share news, ideas, or products relating to food allergies. When deciding which stories to pursue for my blog, I gravitate toward the ones that impact me as the parent of a child with food allergies and hopefully my readers too.
When Mylan Specialty L.P. announced their Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge™ this fall, I loved the idea of giving children with food allergies the microphone. Don’t misunderstand me, parents of children with food allergies are AMAZING people that I truly admire, but there is something to be said for going straight to the source…letting those that are the most affected have a voice.
In January 2013, Mylan Specialty L.P. announced 15 winners of the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge™, a national scholarship contest in which students in grades 1-12 submitted essays describing an idea to help their school become more aware of and better prepared to support students who may be at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). Fifteen winners (five each from grade groupings of 1−4, 5−8 and 9−12) were each awarded a $2,000 college scholarship. The winning submissions, from students ages six to 17, included an anaphylaxis rap and an interactive food allergy video game. (For more information about this program, please visit here.)
Take the time to visit this aforementioned link to learn some staggering food allergy statistics and learn more about the criteria for participating in and winning the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge™.
But for my post space today, I’d like to focus on the true stars of the show, the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge winners:
- John Hyatt, Grade 1, The Covenant School, Nashville, Tenn., “Pencil Points”
- Lily Want, Grade 2, Patrick McGaheran School, Annandale, N.J., “The Anaphylaxis Challenge”
- Karson Winders, Grade 2, Station Camp Elementary, Hendersonville, Tenn., “Food Allergy Grocery Game”
- Avery Wilson, Grade 3, Eagle Elementary School, Indianapolis, Ind., “Play it Safe”
- Katelyn Winders, Grade 4, Station Camp Elementary, Hendersonville, Tenn., “Food Allergy Hidden Picture”
- Lauren Burke, Grade 5, C.K. Burns School, Saco, Maine, “Safe Snacks”
- David McClendon, Grade 6, St. Marys Middle School, St. Marys, Ga., “Anaphylaxis READY”
- Leslie Navarro, Grade 7, Carson Elementary, Chicago, Ill., “Anaphylaxis Essay Rap”
- Ylana Nguyen, Grade 7, Chaboya Middle School, San Jose, Calif., “Anaphylaxis: A Definite Threat”
- Lillian Paniccia, Grade 7, Ricci Middle School, North Providence, R.I., “Bookmarks for Anaphylaxis”
- Elizabeth Mamros, Grade 10, Peters Township High School, McMurray, Pa., “Take Time to Care, Make More People Aware of Anaphylaxis”
- Lauren Sedmak, Grade 11, Palisades Charter High School, Los Angeles, Calif., “September Anaphylaxis Month”
- Claire Brown, Grade 12, Wilson Central High School, Lebanon, Tenn., “Saving Lives, One Video at a Time”
- Tatiana Cunningham, Grade 12, West Deptford High School, West Deptford, N.J., “Battle Against Anaphylaxis”
- Kaitlyn Steigerwald, Grade 12, Resurrection College Prep High School, Chicago, Ill., “Random Acts of Anaphylaxis Awareness”
I think it’s beyond commendable for these kids to put so much though and effort into their ideas. So, in addition to listing their names and project titles above, I want to spotlight a few of their superstar ideas!
John Hyatt, Age 6, Grade 1, The Covenant School, Nashville, Tenn., “Pencil Points”
Pencil Points Project Description: To offer pencils with food allergy facts to all students on the first day of school to increase food allergy awareness.
How John Got Involved: His brother, Sam, has multiple food allergies.
Note from The Food Allergy Mom: Way to go, John! I love this idea…kids will be learning about food allergies and getting supplies for school at the same time. Sam is so lucky to have you in his corner. Keep up the great work!
Karson Winders, Age 7, Grade 2, Station Camp Elementary, Hendersonville, Tenn., “Food Allergy Grocery Game”
Food Allergy Grocery Game Description: Create a computer game in which students grocery shop and fill their carts with safe foods.
How Karson Got Involved: She has a peanut allergy.
Note from The Food Allergy Mom: This is so awesome, Karson! My kids love to play on the computer and what better way to educate other kids than by making it fun! Fantastic idea.
Avery Wilson, Grade 3, Eagle Elementary School, Indianapolis, Ind., “Play it Safe”
Play It Safe Description: Create a video game where player virtually visits restaurants, parties, and stores and eats only safe foods.
How Avery Got Involved: She’s allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs.
Note from The Food Allergy Mom: Well done, Avery! Video games are popular with so many kids and it is an excellent way to reach out and educate others while making it fun. This would even be a great learning tool for kids diagnosed with food allergies. Love it!
Katelyn Winders, Age 9, Grade 4, Station Camp Elementary, Hendersonville, Tenn., “Food Allergy Hidden Picture”
Food Allergy Hidden Picture Description: Create a computer game where player clicks on pictures of common sources of food allergies.
How Katelyn Got Involved: Her sister has peanut allergies.
Note from The Food Allergy Mom: Great idea, Katelyn! My kids would love this game. A computer game is the perfect way to educate kids about food allergies. What a great sister you are to Karson! She’s lucky to have you!
Ylana Nguyen, Age 12, Grade 7, Chaboya Middle School, San Jose, Calif., “Anaphylaxis: A Definite Threat”
Anaphylaxis: A Definite Threat Description: Perform school plays that educate students about food allergies and anaphylaxis.
How Ylana Got Involved: She had a childhood friend with a gluten allergy.
Note from The Food Allergy Mom: Ylana, well done! I love this modern idea for getting kids involved, especially your idea to pair a serious speech with a light-hearted play. Keep up the great work!
Lillian Paniccia, Age 12, Grade 7, Ricci Middle School, North Providence, R.I., “Bookmarks for Anaphylaxis”
Bookmarks for Anaphylaxis Description: Health teachers can pass out food allergy fact bookmarks to students.
How Lillian Got Involved: She has some friends with food allergies.
Note from The Food Allergy Mom: What a fabulous friend you are, Lillian! I think health class is an excellent place to start a food allergy conversation! I love that you want to educate others so you can sit together at the peanut-free table at school!
Kaitlyn Steigerwald, Grade 12, Resurrection College Prep High School, Chicago, Ill., “Random Acts of Anaphylaxis Awareness”
Random Acts of Anaphylaxis Awareness Description: Posting food allergy facts on colorful notes posted in random places around school.
How Kaitlyn Got Involved: She got her inspiration from a kindness project at school and her work on the school newspaper.
Note from The Food Allergy Mom: Posting cheery notes in random places throughout the school to educate others about food allergy and anaphylaxis is a wonderful idea. It is something students would see day in and day out and would most definitely raise awareness. Congratulations on this fabulous concept!
I am truly amazed and humbled by the dedication of these wonderful young people! Congratulations to all of you and thank you for all you are doing in the name of raising awareness about food allergies.