As I sat on gym bleachers overlooking an energetic audience of children dancing to a song called “Cool Bracelet,” I reflected on how lucky they were to have this experience.
It was a Saturday afternoon and I was at the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, New England Chapter) Family Concert with Kyle Dine and Food Allergy Expo. When songwriter and performer Kyle Dine and I were growing up, there was nothing even remotely like this. Neither of us met anyone with life-threatening food allergies until we were 16 and 17 years old. I never knew anyone else who had to think twice about what they ate, never mind wear a Medic Alert bracelet and carry Epi-pens. All I could think about as I watched Kyle perform was how comforting it must feel for children to know they are not THE only ones with food allergies. Although there are moments for every “allergic reactor” where they may feel lonely, these children know they are not alone.
The show hit every main point that a child growing up with food allergies should be aware of. Kyle openly told the audience about his own food allergies and encouraged children to raise their hand if they had the same allergy. Kyle asked questions like, “What can you do to help stay safe?” and talked about his Golden Rule of “read it before I eat it.” There were also engaging songs, puppets, quiz shows, jokes and dancing. By the end of the show, Kyle made it clear that you can do and be anything with food allergies. Kyle’s uplifting attitude and positive energy sent a powerful message to the audience. He showed children with food allergies that they can shine and made everyone feel included in the food allergy journey together.
Kyle has reached countless children all over North America and abroad with his allergy advocacy. As someone who still rarely meets another adult with food allergies, it was awesome to meet Kyle and his beautiful family! I learned that we both participated in “normal” childhood activities growing up. Now we are both avid travelers who have lived abroad. Kyle and I may have both grown up with multiple life-threatening food allergies, but we are two examples of “allergy kid” grown-ups who did not let our life-threatening food allergies get in the way of living life to the fullest!
Thanks to the AAFA New England for hosting the event! Education about food allergies with Kyle Dine in concert was beneficial for many families. To get more information on other programs run by the AAFA go to http://www.aafa.org/page/aafa-new-england-chapter.aspx. To listen to some of Kyle’s songs and read more about his shows, visit his website at http://www.kyledine.com/.