How did I receive this wonderful and vast knowledge? I could tell you that I had an epiphany or that I am psychic but it was as simple as having the honor to be invited back to another Mylan Specialty Blogger Summit.This was the third time and I am always so excited to see who will be there and what information awaits all of us. This time was a bit different- we got to see the new corporate headquarters of Mylan in Pennsylvania. As previously done, I was whisked away to have a wonderful dinner followed by an exhilarating day of unknown agenda. I'm not sure how the other bloggers feel but I am always left in suspense since we are never told ahead of time what is planned. It's like having a super secret covert allergy spy mission that unwinds into yet a bigger and better future.
But how, where, when?! I have to say that I always feel overwhelmingly spoiled on these trips. I am literally given door-to-door treatment which is so far beyond my everyday routine. And I even meet the most interesting people on the way there and back. This was Louis (everybody say hi Louis!) He was my first driver and he was awesome! Soon I arrived in Pittsburgh and was ready to jump in and see who was here this time. I met some new bloggers this time around but everyone is always filled with the same great focus and passion and we are truly on the same mission- to help others and to stay together doing it.
Ahem, Agenda, Please After a sweet and completely labeled continental breakfast, we were seated in one of Mylan's board rooms....can you say "Wow!" because I did. Don't get me wrong- I know that all of the bloggers are important but it seems more official when you are in such an official looking room. We got to meet Tony Mauro (President of Mylan Specialty) as well as many other key members of the Mylan team
such as Julie Knell, Sherry Korczynski, Bruce Lott and Siobhan Cavanaugh. We were able to view some new campaigns and we discussed how we, the voice of the food allergy community, would want to see future information passed on in the most effective way. Feelings expressed the need to educate even beyond the food allergy community because we all understand that food allergies do not just affect those with the food allergies themselves. Food allergies touch so many other aspects of our communities now- doctors, schools, friends, people that we may never even know sitting next to us in a restaurant. The more people understand food allergies, the more we can all work together to prevent future, unnecessary allergic tragedies. Dr. Ruchi Gupta showed us the proof that this knowledge is much needed in her research findings. (BTW, love Dr. Gupta, she is funny, sweet, compassionate and just down to earth).
We also had the pleasure of meeting Michael Tringale of AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), Becky Fry & Terry Koontz of the American Red Cross and Allison Rosen of 3D Communications who gave us some valuable pointers on how to keep our audiences interested. And just to show you how powerful a voice can be, I want to share with all of you the amazing feat that all of us accomplished within an hour's time. While discussing policies and procedures with Becky Fry regarding their CPR and Babysitting courses that are offered, our group asked her why the American Red Cross did not simply make EpiPen training a part of both of these courses rather than optional. She requested that we urge people to contact the American Red Cross to recommend that they rewrite the policies and she also stated that she would find an answer for us. After several minutes of our blogger group grilling her (nicely) and all of our posts and tweets asking for our audiences to help get these policies updated- BHAM! Confirmation that we were heard and that the polices are, indeed, in the process of being rewritten! If that's not proof of a community coming together to make an important change, I don't know what is. And regarding that entire agenda, I want to thank Becky for being so patient with us, the American Red Cross for hearing us and responding so quickly and all of you- YOU, the unheard voices that helped us get that change done! Everyone's voice is important and the next time you ask "What can I do?" just remember this situation, smile and change that to "Look what I did!"
And, Where Does This Leave the Princess? As always, I am even more hopeful for the future of food allergies. I always feel recharged and full of new ideas on how to continue doing what I do. I am also so grateful that Mylan Specialty continues to work with all of the bloggers as well as continuing to provide and give back to our community. They have proven their sincerity time and time again through several programs that they offer including their new My EpiPlan app, the EpiPen $0 Copay offer and EpiPen4Schools program. In times like this, we need to know that somebody has got our back. I think it's best described
as stated in Mylan's mission "At Mylan, we are committed to setting new standards in healthcare, working together around the world to provide 7 billion people access to high quality medicine, we innovate to satisfy unmet needs; make reliability and service excellence a habit; do what's right, not what's easy; and impact the future through passionate global leadership." This rings similar to what I hold true, which is "Don't stop when you are tired, stop when you are done" and this food allergy princess has only just started!
Most sincere thank you's to Mylan Specialty for their hosptiality, Suzanne and Christine for making everything go so smoothly and to my fellow bloggers for continuing to do what they do best too.
*I disclose in any communication made by me about EpiPen(epinephrine) Auto-Injector (registered) and/or Mylan Specialty Blooger Summit that such communication is at my own discretion and based on my own opinion. I also disclose that my travel expenses were compensated by Mylan Specialty in exchange for evaluation and feedback on information presented during the meeting.