Food Allergy Advocates Celebrate Courage at Record-Setting Summit

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Contains: Courage® FARE Summit 2019! Held Nov. 1-3 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington, D.C., this dynamic gathering drew over 1,000 participants. Tweens, teens and adults living with food allergy came together with family members, health professionals and other allies in the nation’s largest ever educational food allergy event for families.


Friday evening showcased the creativity and originality of young food allergy advocates with the Innovation Tank competition, featuring bright ideas and inventive prototypes to help make life with food allergies better. Our 2019 Innovation Tank winner is Madigan Hester, who created the prototype for H&H Meditat, a semi-permanent medical tattoo that can’t be forgotten at home and won’t get in the way during sports activities. 

On Saturday, we were treated to a passionate keynote speech by motivational speaker Gian Paul Gonzalez who talked about the importance of being “all-in,” showing up and being committed. This Summit highlight officially kicked off the weekend’s programming, which offered more than 60 sessions and more than 70 speakers. But a lot of what is special happens beyond the educational sessions through the special sense of community that is shared over these three days. Teens were able to be themselves as they hung out in our teen lounge, and adults and teens alike got to bond over shared experiences during our adult and teen socials.  

We were delighted to feature special guest and actress, Cree Cicchino, as the host for the 2019 FARE Vision Awards Presentation. Cree talked about her personal experiences as she and her twin sister Jayce were born with multiple food allergies that they still manage to this day. Recipients of the 2019 FARE Vision Awards were recognized for their outstanding and tireless efforts to support FARE’s mission to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. The final day of the Summit marked the two-year anniversary of the death of Elijah-Alavi Silvera, who suffered anaphylaxis after being fed a cheese sandwich at preschool, and the Outstanding Advocacy Impact Award was renamed in Elijah’s honor.

The Honorable Doris Matsui of the United States House of Representatives received our first Vision Award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Policy. Earlier this year, Rep. Matsui introduced the FASTER Act to accelerate urgently needed research and regulatory reforms and to update allergen labeling laws to include sesame. Rep. Matsui has provided vital leadership and educated her colleagues and the public about life-threatening food allergies. We thank her and her fellow Vision Award recipients: 

  • Ira Riklis, who received the Elijah-Alavi Silvera Outstanding Advocacy Impact Award
  • Tessa Grosso, who received the Contains: Courage® Outstanding Teen Award
  • Dr. David Anmuth, who received the Health Professional Award for Volunteer Service
  • Michael Lade, who received the Outstanding Community Education Award
  • Pixie Lizzie, which received the Outstanding Business Award for Food Allergy Activism

The Contains: Courage® FARE Summit 2019 was made possible with the help of our presenting partner, DBV Technologies, with additional support from Genentech, OWYN – Only What You Need and YumEarth. We thank our partners, presenters, participants and everyone who helped make Contains: Courage® FARE Summit 2019 such an inspiring success!