Food Allergy Hero Spotlight: Aimee Campbell
FARE’s Hometown Heroes Community Walk for Food Allergy launched last year as a volunteer-driven FARE supported fun and festive event in cities and towns where there is no Food Allergy Heroes Walk. Food allergy mom Aimee Campbell is relatively new to food allergies but that hasn’t stopped her from leading a Hometown Heroes Walk in Idaho Falls, ID on Saturday August 18 at the Community Park Gazebo. Learn more about her and why she and her family walk.
Tell us about your connection to food allergies.
Our two-year son was diagnosed at 15 months with peanuts and tree nuts allergies, including touch sensitivity. Having no previous experience with allergies, it was the scariest moment of my life to watch my baby turn blue as we were rushed to the hospital by ambulance. The simple task of him getting into his sister’s lunchbox caused an anaphylactic reaction and began our journey into the world of food allergies.
How did you learn about FARE’s Hometown Heroes Community Walk?
I learned about it from FARE’s website. FARE’s website has been a lifeline for me in learning everything that is needed to handle my son’s severe food allergy. I am always on there looking for information and seeing what events are happening close to our hometown of Idaho Falls, Idaho.
What made you decide to bring a Hometown Heroes Walk to Idaho Falls?
Wow, that’s a good question! Since I do use FARE’s website so often, I am always checking out the events to see if anything is remotely close to us that would be possible for us to attend. We live in Idaho Falls, which has proven to be a unique city when it comes to food allergies. It is considered the big city for our area, but unfortunately, not big enough to have access to big-city things. After discovering there is nothing in our area to help support kids with food allergies and sensing an overall lack of awareness of food allergies from community members, I started looking into finding out more about the Hometown Heroes Walk.
Our family is new to the allergy community and we are looking to build a support system where we can network with other people living this reality. I’ve spent the last year educating myself on the magnitudes of his allergy and have come to realize my community doesn’t fully understand what food allergies entail. A lot of people seem to genuinely not know that it can often be a life-or-death situation. I believe it’s because of a huge lack of awareness in Idaho Falls and Idaho overall. I have encountered attitudes and behaviors that are hurtful, uncaring, rude, and sometimes even mocking.
After going through a rather intense and negative situation on social media on a local community page, I decided someone needed to help educate and raise awareness for every child in our area who lives with food allergies. I find Idaho Falls, and the whole state of Idaho, to be full of good and caring people; more than other places I have lived. I believe that these negative attitudes arise when people don’t know better due to a lack of education and awareness. I just want to help educate my community in a fun and positive way, so we can continue to be known as a town that is great for families to raise kids in. I am having a hard time finding other allergy moms or families to connect with at the local level, but I know that we are not the only ones.
As I have been organizing this walk, I have been happily surprised with the connections I am making with people of the allergy community. I hope this walk can get us all together and not only bring awareness to the severity of food allergies, but start to create a supportive community for these kids.
What would you say to someone considering starting a Hometown Heroes Walk?
Umm, don’t think about it, just do it! Honestly, if someone is considering starting a walk, don’t be afraid or spend lots of time thinking that it will be overwhelming. I really did not know what I was getting into with starting one. It is not in my personality at all to be so vocal about something. I am shy in public and I didn’t think that this would be something I would be able to pull off, but the support you get from FARE is amazing! If you think a Hometown Heroes Walk would benefit your community, then go for it. You never know where it will lead you. A year ago, I was a brand-new allergy mom and now I am holding the first Hometown Hero’s Walk in all of Idaho. Plus, I am getting to share my story with all of you and for that I am grateful.
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