True Stories - Roxanne

Roxanne M.,

Food Allergy Mom

More than 10 years have passed since Roxanne’s 12-year-old son was diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. Of all the lessons learned over more than a decade, the biggest one has come from Roxanne’s realization that there is power in numbers.

Roxanne always researched issues thoroughly, and her son's allergies were definitely top on her list. But she was uncomfortable in talking with people directly, having received so much mixed feedback when she tried to discuss her sons food allergies. Some people seemed to act as though she was making a big deal out of nothing, some people acted as though avoiding nuts would be the worst thing in the world.

Particularly when it came to school, the reactions from teachers, fellow parents, and school officials were different from year to year. Finally, Roxanne decided to reach out to the other parents of to see if there were other families dealing with the same issues and if they felt there would be a benefit in getting together to discuss our experiences and learn from each other. She heard from two other parents and in those first few months of meeting, they merely talked and shared their stresses and achievements in handling the day-to-day issues that arise at school for their kids.

Over the course of a year, the group grew to include several families from all the schools in a district of 8,000 students. They were able to take their experiences and work with the school to make positive changes for their children. With the momentum gained just by working together, they continue to look for ways to improve their community for all those affected by food allergies. And, along the way, they found a common bond uniting them.

Being a part of a support group gave Roxanne a new confidence that allows her to speak about her son's allergies in an effort to educate others and spread awareness.

“Where my voice is stronger now that I have the resources of my group behind me, our voices, banded together, are far louder still. The power of numbers, when used in a positive way to work together, can accomplish great things!” Roxanne wrote.

Roxanne is a support group leader for the Rockford Food Allergy Network in Michigan. Find a support group in your area.

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