November 9, 2011

Y'all Rocked Food Allergies!

On November 6th, storm clouds disappeared and made way for the sun to shine down on our Food Allergies Rock concert with Kyle Dine.  We sang, we danced, we played, and we made new friends.  

Kyle Dine draws in the crowd with a song about his food allergies. 
Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Food-allergic children even got to sample sweets like cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream that may have been gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, or nut-free, but were definitely not lacking in taste and smiles!  They may even have sufficed as lunch for some of the little ones (I'm not naming names, but we knew who they were when they crashed hard at 6pm!).  

We were honored to have the support of BAAAB founder Mireille Schwartz who believes in our blog and dedicated time at our event and behind the scenes to help our event reach the widest possible audience.  

We were thrilled to have Kyle Dine headline our event.  He was every bit of the dynamic kids' performer as we had hoped, plus a really nice person!  We hope you had a chance to meet him as he mingled with guests before and after his performance.  Our kids loved Kyle and have been singing his songs and reenacting their concert experiences at home.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU... 

To our friends at Miglet's Gluten Free Bakery, Udi's Gluten Free Foods, Zico Pure Premium Coconut Water, Cinnaholic, Tofutti, and Mariposa Baking Company for providing fresh and delicious treats at the event. 
To Amy Fothergill--the Family Chef, Generation Allergy, and Mother Knows, who were there to discuss their products that support our food allergy community.

To California Baby, Dr. Lucy's, Enjoy Life, Select Wisely, Allerbling, Follow Your Heart, Allergy Alert Stick Ons, Especially Yours, Mary's Gone Crackers, San Francisco Recreation and Parks, Little City Kitchen Co., Allergic Living Magazine, and the Sequoia Foundation for all the goodies they sent for our guests and the invaluable services they provided to help everything go off without a hitch!

To authors Juniper Skinner and Sandra Beasley for contributing copies of their latest works for our raffle.

To theGRQP's Shawn Cordeiro for designing our laminating tags and coloring contest sheet. 

To Jamie Wong for the endless mounds of brightly colored gluten-free play dough and GAW contributor Michelle Tsang for all the leaf printing, two of our most popular activities at the event.

To Charlotte Jude who provided Epi-Pen training for our young guests.

To Ken Wee who provided and set up all of our audio equipment and made sure that everything was heard loud and clear! 

To Jennifer Jung and Jarvis Mak who helped the event run smoothly by overseeing our 6 attending vendors and 40 volunteers. 

To our volunteers from Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity in San Francisco State and UC Berkeley for their help with all aspects of the day. We could not have accomplished this without their help.

To our event photographers, Tiffany Chen and Brett Lando, for their tireless work in capturing great memories from the event.

To Jordan Brooks of BAAAB for supporting our event with guidance through the publicity process.

To our friends, our spouses, our family who supported us by volunteering, attending, advising, and simply lending their endless moral support of this huge endeavor.  Thank you for your words of praise, but please know that you share in this achievement.

The kids' craft tables were always buzzing with activity.  Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Mireille Schwartz's speech garners some laughs as daughter Charlotte Judd looks on.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Kids help Kyle Dine identify symptoms of an allergic reaction.  Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Kyle's set list included "My Epineph-Friend," "Stop! Please Don't Feed Me" and "Food Allergies Rock" (of course!). Photo Credit: Brett Lando

Udi's rep Kim Rice offered an array of gluten-free goodies. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Sheila Parmar and Johanna Silva of MotherKnows shared about their online medical record management services.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Kyle Dine hangs out before the event with a tiny portion of his huge new SF Bay Area fan base.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Jamie Wong, who made all of our colorful gluten-free play dough, pictured with daughter Joie and husband Marcus.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

GAW's Sarah Chuck and Irene Chu, their kids, and Kyle Dine.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Miglet's Gluten Free Bakery, represented by owner Katie Ortiz and her mom Elaine Taylor, was a huge supporter.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Alpha Phi Omega volunteers helped with all aspects of the event including the Halloween candy trade-in. 
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Guests were greeted by the warm smiles of GAW contributing writer Michelle Kishimoto and Betty Wong.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Ky-Yen Wong, Lydia Lam, and Michelle Tsang helped with raffle and kids' crafts.  Photo credit: Tiffany Chen

Kyle Dine with GAW's Sarah Chuck and Irene Chu. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Lori Fletcher, her kids Lindsey and Justin with Kyle Dine. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Mireille Schwartz was interviewed by KQED's Rebecca Wolfson for an upcoming segment on food allergies.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Daughter and mother Charlotte Judd and Mireille Schwartz with GAW's Irene Chu and Sarah Chuck.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Raffle winner Asha Fletcher-Irwin and her proud father, Buzz Irwin.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Our helpful friends including Jennifer Jung (right of Irene) who took care of our vendors.  Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Kyle Dine with Generation Allergy's Kelly Brady and Heather Brady Gallegos. Photo Credit: Tiffany Chen

Lastly, thank you especially to all of our readers and their wonderful families, and for the sea of happy faces that made all of our hard work and planning worthwhile!

Shower love on your newfound allergy-friendly businesses by visiting their stores, their websites, and Facebook pages.  Please check out Kyle Dine's website for info on the artist and how to buy his CDs.

And please share your comments, photos, and experiences with our blog community or on our Get Allergy Wise Facebook page--we're loving your feedback!

Sarah & Irene


  1. I wish we had an event like that here, but in rural Nebraska, there aren't enough people interested to make this type of event worthwhile :( I began a gluten-free, dairy-free, fungal elimination diet a year and a half ago upon finding a doctor who actually had a knowledge of food intolerances (though the fungal elimination is for my allergy to all fungi). I had been to doctor after doctor about being anemic as a child, a 13-year-long constant headache, and various other health issues. Unfortunately, I developed multiple allergies due to the high level of immune system stimulation for so many years. I am lucky not to have any food allergies or life-threatening reactions. My mother has since changed her diet and I've kept my daughter on the same diet as me since the food intolerances tend to be genetic. It is hard in a small town when my grandmother says, "Well, you don't KNOW that she has the same problem as you," when referring to my daughter. Or my great-aunt who asked why I don't give my daughter candy. I told them to give her something OTHER than candy for Halloween, so they gave her fruit or a safe trail mix (thank goodness for relatives who listen!) I know that in the end my daughter may be spared from all the health issues that I continue to be plagued by simply because no one suggested food intolerance as the root of my problems until I was 24 years old. Maybe it's because food intolerances can't be tested in a lab setting, but with all the processed food we eat, it is no wonder that they are becoming more prevalent.

  2. Hi R,
    Thanks for finding us. I'm sorry to hear about what sounds like a lack of a food-allergic or allergy-friendly community. On the plus side, that's great that your mom is supportive, which might help your grandmother...or maybe not.

    Food allergies are completely foreign to our grandparents' generation. And, at least in my experience, my parents' generation needed first-hand experience with my kids' reactions to convince the moms in my life that food allergies were a legitimate danger.

    While you may not have a nearby community of food-allergic folks, the internet has the power to bring us all closer whether we may be in Nebraska, California, Australia, or Germany! We hope that you'll be able to keep in touch with us and also seek out other people with similar intolerances, too.

    Best wishes,