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PAK News

  • May PAK News & Updates

    PAK has several events to announce and remind our members about...

    Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 13 - 19, 2018. PAK will be posting opportunities each day to spread awareness and increase the conversation around food allergies and anaphylaxis. Tune in to our private Facebook group, Parents of Allergic Kids Charlotte Members for updates.


    Bring your kids and come meet up with some other food allergy families to chat while the kids enjoy the playground! To RSVP and for location info, please email info@pakcharlotte.org.

    Saturday, June 16, 3:30-5 PM. RSVP to info@pakcharlotte.org for more information.

    PAK 5K at the Yiasou Greek Festival

    Sat, August 25, 2018

    SAVE-THE-DATE: Join PAK to run, walk, or cheer at the Yiasou Greek Festival 5K to be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 600 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203.  Stay tuned for registration code and sign-up! 

  • Our first interview is with.....Kyle Dine!!!

    PAK is so excited to announce we will now start a series of interviews with food allergy innovators, experts, and newsmakers. Our very first interview is with Kyle Dine! Kyle is a food allergy entertainer and educator. He was here in Charlotte this past October when he performed at the annual FARE walk with our imPAKt crew! 

    How did you find out you had food allergies and how old were you?

    I’ve had my food allergies ever since I was a toddler (approximately 2). It started by my parents giving me a taste of a milkshake that caused rashes and hives across my body. Early on I had an allergy to dairy but eventually grew out of it. My current allergies are peanut, tree nut, egg, fish, shellfish and mustard.

    What prompted you to become a food allergy entertainer? Can you tell us about your school assembly program?

    It’s certainly a niche path that I stumbled upon through the combination of having allergies myself, being a songwriter, working with kids at a summer camp, and having a mom who was an elementary school principal. After starting to write a few songs about allergies with kids at camp (to get some of our emotions out), my mom planted the seed about sharing my knowledge and experiences in schools.

    My program is an entertaining mix of music, games and puppets. It’s heavy on educating children about the basics of food allergy, but in an age-appropriate manner. My goal is to empower kids to support each other. I try to cast the topic in a positive light that emphasizes that we can all make a true difference in a few simple ways.

    Do food allergies run in your family?

    Nothing more than seasonal allergies. I think I started a new tradition of food allergies as I now have a younger cousin with tree nut allergies. My daughter is now 2.5 and luckily is not showing any signs of food allergies.


    What has surprised you during your allergy journey?

    I’m surprised of how far a little education can go. When I was a teenager, I was very cavalier with my food allergies. I experienced a very severe reaction that truly scared me. I started doing more and more research and learned that I was off with the way I was managing my allergies. A serious reaction was bound to happen. After learning more about the risks of eating “may contain” products and being more vigilant with my food in all settings, I became much more “enlightened” and am proud of my small number of reactions ever since.

    What do you want the non-allergic community to know about food allergies?

    I think there is so much focus on the physical side of things. People think of allergic reactions and all of the symptoms. I wish more people knew about the physiological issues that can come with living with food allergies. I remember asking a group of teens what was the hardest part of dealing with food allergies, and the majority agreed upon “feeling like a burden to others” as the most difficult aspect. It can take a real toll some days, and when other people show ignorance, or ask unwanted questions, it only makes it tougher.

    What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed family?

    Don’t go it alone. Use trusted resources to your advantage in getting credible information from day one. Ask your allergist as many questions as you can, and connect with food allergy support groups like PAK. There is a lot of information floating around on the Internet, which is easier to decipher once you start off on the right foot.

    How hard is it to travel the world with food allergies and what advice would you give a food allergic individual if they want to travel internationally?

    I think it can be a very nerve-racking thought for many families. I was quite a homebody for many years and got the travel bug when I was 21. I’ve found over the years that it’s easier than I ever imagined it would be. Do your research ahead of time on your destination, their cuisine and other factors that will provide piece of mind when abroad. I was part of a team that created a site to make this research easier at www.allergytravels.com.

    Have you ever found something you can’t do because of food allergies?



    What is one thing you’ve learned on your allergy journey?

    I’ve learned that people generally are open to helping people with food allergies out, and learn more about the condition, but just haven’t received the right opportunity. For many, their only point of reference of the condition is through the sensationalized portrayal in a movie, or through comments at the end of online articles or Facebook debates.

    It’s easy to get frustrated by others in their lack of knowledge of my condition. But I try to use that as an opportunity to finally provide this person with the right info in a non-threatening way. I believe in the good in everyone and that everyone can change their perspective with the right approach.

  • Food allergy bullying, we need your help.

    The below is a letter which PAK sent to the Roseanne show after their first two episodes aired last night. At the end of the second episode a peanut allergy was used as a joke for cheap laughs. The food allergic community is often used as a joke in television shows, ad campaigns, movies, and comedians routines. PAK has written countless letters over the years to a variety of celebrities pointing out that life threatening food allergies are not funny. Yet, there has not been a change. When did our society become so cruel? How is making fun of a life threatening conditions which affects 15 million Americans funny? Common manners and inclusivity have gone out the window. PAK is asking you today, whether you have a food allergy in your family or not, to speak up when this food allergy bullying is portrayed in the media. Write a letter, make a phone call, speak up. Demand this bullying and discrimination end. As stated below, it is unlikely that diabetes, cancer, and other serious conditions would be used to get a laugh and if it was there would be outrage. Your support means everything. Thank you for your dedication to the cause. Our brave, amazing, resilient children deserve better. 

    Randi Eccleston

    PAK President

    For fans of the original show the comeback of Roseanne was an exciting opportunity to see what the family is up to now. The episodes which aired last night did not disappoint. They were just as funny as the original. They certainly tackled a variety of issues in one hour. Especially touching was watching Roseanne’s grandson be himself no matter what anyone else thought. Bullying is a real and relevant issue. No child should be bullied no matter what, it is unacceptable. A child should not be bullied for how he dresses. The grandson, after being bullied, reveals that the bully has a peanut allergy and he “can be taken out with trail mix”. Not only is this bullying but it is life threatening. A life threatening condition is never funny and should not be portrayed as such in a television comedy. 

    You probably can’t imagine the hours of preparation and planning that go into keeping those with life threatening food allergies safe on a daily basis when everyday foods such as nuts, gluten, milk and eggs can literally kill them. 

    Maybe we can help you understand.  Life threatening food allergies is a condition that affects 15 million Americans, 8 million of which are children. Can you imagine your child, friend, family member, or spouse swelling, getting hives, blood pressure dropping, throat closing, fainting, a feeling of impending doom and the very real possibility of dying?

    Do you give all life-threatening conditions the equal opportunity to be the butt of your jokes?  Somehow we think jokes about diabetes, pediatric cancer and the like would be off limits for you.  Why are life-threatening food allergies so funny?  They aren’t. 

    This is the life for those with life-threatening food allergies.Our members with allergies are brave, determined, courageous, and strong. Please consider doing a new episode, one which expresses inclusion instead of ignorance and misinformation.   If you would like to learn more and how you can help raise awareness for life-threatening allergies, email us at info@pakcharlotte.org 


    Parents Of Allergic Kids, Pakcharlotte.org

  • Sponsor A Child

    *** New PAK program alert***

    We have a special announcement today. PAK is proud to announce our new program “Sponsor-A-Child”. This exciting initiative is rolling out today. This summer, once again, PAK is hosting Camp ROAR. PAK’s goal as always is to provide a safe and fun summer camp. PAK is able to do this through a FARE grant. This year we received a partial FARE grant and we need help filling in the funds which we did not receive so we may keep the cost of camp down for you, our PAK families. Through “Sponsor-A-Child your friends, family, co-workers, employers, and the like can help with our camp costs. $100 covers one child for one week of camp. If you know of a company/individual who would like to be a sponsor, have them email PAK at info@pakcharlotte.org

    Thank you for your help and we are looking forward to another wonderful summer at Camp ROAR!

  • Spring reminders and new news and updates

    We have a busy spring ahead. Here are reminders of our March and April events and some new news!

    ***PAK is busy coordinating some fun and educational events for our members. On Monday, March 26, PAK will welcome inspirational speaker Eric Edwards to Charlotte! Meet one of the inventors of Auvi-Q and hear how he was inspired to use his personal experiences handling life-threatening food allergies to create something that would positively affect thousand of others! Don't forget that we also have an Allergy 101 event scheduled for Saturday, April 21. In addition, PAK is planning some fun events for the fall including a day out at Wise Acres farm to coordinate with the Teal Pumpkin Project and another PAK-a-Bear event! 

    ***Directions to the Eric Edwards event are as follows:

    St. Matthews Catholic Church
    8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy
    Charlotte, NC 28277

    From Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, please pull in the main entrance and then turn right. Then there will be a parking lot on your right, please use this lot. After parking, you will see a large water fountain - the New Life Center is the 2-story building to the right of the water fountain. Walk past the fountain to the LAST ENTRANCE of the New Life Center. When you enter the building, there will be an elevator and stairs to the right - take either to the 2nd floor. We will be in rooms 239, 240, and 241 and there will be signs indicating how to find the rooms.

    ***Lets go shopping!!! We have new PAK shirts for sale. They are incredible and only $8!!!! https://sheshed.biz/shop?olsPage=products%2Fpak-t-shirt

    ***FARE has a new online training all about anaphylaxis. It is an online 15 minute video. Please feel free to share with family, friends, schools, houses of worship, babysitters etc. It is very honest(not graphic) so please view before sharing it with children.https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/training/recognizing-responding-to-anaphylaxis

    Happy Spring and please email us with any questions info@pakcharlotte.org

    Thank you,

    PAK Coordinators

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