It’s the end of the action-packed Saturday of FARE’s first national food allergy conference in Rosemont, IL. Right now I’m literally sitting with my feet up in a corner of the conference hotel bar, enjoying a glass of wine while I review and fill in my notes, check in on the non-food allergy news of the day on my laptop, and make some decisions about how to handle my trip back to the east coast on Sunday.
Boy, has this been exciting! Thank you to all the wonderful folks who have taken the time to say hello, answer my questions, and share their stories with me.
Yesterday I visited Enjoy Life’s factory, just down the road from the conference center. I learned about the rigorous procedures they follow to prevent top 8 allergen contamination of their products. In the evening, I met a couple of wonderful support group leaders who I’ve been getting to know virtually during the previous weeks and months.
Today, I’ve learned so much about how people manage food allergies in all kinds of settings. On the technical side, I’ve learned about the design principles behind the Auvi-Q and some of the latest developments in research, including research about the likelihood of having a reaction from different kinds of allergen exposure. In networking news, I’ve learned more about the impressive amount of funding raised by FARE Walks, the different ways that a support group can be set up as an organization, and how groups representing other conditions like eosinophilic esophagitis and celiac disease can ally with food allergy advocates. And in the category of “things that never even occurred to me before,” I’ve also learned about how to manage food allergies at summer camps and how big food manufacturers figure out how to alert customers of potential allergens in processed foods.
In the coming weeks, I’ll put down some of my impressions of the conference more coherently. For now, thank you to everyone who has made this weekend such an educational and enjoyable experience! And congratulations to FARE for putting together a truly impressive event!