I have to say that when I returned from the first Mylan Bloggers Summit back in January with the thought of setting up a local FARE Food Allergy Walk for Winston-Salem, it seemed like a fleeting moment for me. I remember telling my husband and my mother that I wanted to do this and they both had the same response "You are insane." But I already knew that so it didn't stop me. I have always been someone who decides to do something and then I just do. I ignore all of the people who are asking me "How will you get people there? When will you find the time? Do you know how much work that is? You can't do this alone." But guess what- I did just that. All of it. I did not have a committee, I did not have people signing up to make calls or pass out flyers, it was just me. And I know, at the end of the day, I am thankful that I was motivated to get it done. There is no better feeling than knowing that I helped others.
So what exactly is a FARE Food Allergy Walk anyway? FARE stands for Food Allergy Research & Education. The FARE Walks bring together thousands of Americans seeking a safe world for those living with food allergies. The Walk is a family-friendly event that takes place in communities nationwide to fund food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness. I can personally say that we came together to celebrate our food allergies, not dwell on them. The energy from all of our participants, sponsors and visitors was just one of happiness and community. Hearing so many children say "Mommy, I can eat that!" and seeing them just having a great day without worries puts everything into perspective.
I want to take a moment to say thank you to Mayor Allen Joines for coming out to join us as well as to our local sponsors for their generous support and for wanting to be a part of this day with us: Truliant Federal Credit Union, Optimal Health Chiropractic, Allergy Partners of the Piedmont, Whole Foods (Winston-Salem), LeBauer Medical Center, Shugart Enterprises and Robinhood Integrative Health,. I would also like to thank our other local businesses for helping out for the Walk: our live musicians Mike, Tom & Robin, Triad Fitness & Health Magazine, Natural Triad Magazine, Sam's Club, Goodwill Industries, Lowes Home Improvement, Robinhood Road Family YMCA, Windsor Jewelers, Trader Joe's , The Fresh Market and Family Video (Reynolda Road).
Are you wondering what was there and what we did (besides walk)? We had a giant slide provided by Bouncing Bonanza, we had Mister Mike twisting up some great balloons for us, we had face painting provided by Sea Shel, Monkey Hooper keeping us fit and active, live music, Melissa from Studio ZT to get us motivated to walk and Lewisville Fire Department as well as local EMS to show the kids how they are there to help, not to scare them during an emergency situation. There were so many great allergy-friendly samples for everyone such as Wink Frozen Desserts for a cool and allergy-friendly treat as well as sponsors who had items to give out. We even had EpiPen and Sanofi there to explain their testers and to answer questions for everyone.
And now all is said and done....what now? Believe it or not, I am already making mental notes on how to have an even bigger and better FARE Walk next year (because I am insane, remember?) Was it a lot of work- yes. Did I get paid for it- nope, not a dime. I donated all of my time and energy because it was necessary. I welcome comments and suggestions from those of you who were able to be there with us to make next year's event even more welcoming. I appreciate each and every person that was with us, I loved meeting everyone in person to put a name with a face and I am just grateful to have been a part of it myself.
There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say "Watch Me." - Unknown
(A complete album of the Walk's pictures can be seen on my Facebook page at facebook.com/NutrimomFALhttps://www.facebook.com/NutrimomFAL)
Just a reminder that donations for the FARE Food Allergy Walk end with the calendar year, not with the end of our walk. If you were unable to be there but would still like to donate, please visit www.foodallergywalk.org/winstonsalem or contact me for details on how you can help.