My life was amazing and perfect until March of 2009, when my youngest child (I am the mom of two girls) ate walnuts and went into anaphylaxis. There is nothing worse than seeing your child sick or hurt. I felt helpless, and deeply scared. In the blink of an eye, life changed.
Having a food allergy is a life threatening condition which affects every aspect of every day. Food is everywhere. American and Jewish cultures revolve around food! Every holiday, every party, every event includes food. So yes, I was filled with fear.
As the years went on we had our stumbling blocks, our hard times, our tears. However, my goal has always been to keep life as normal as possible. There is nothing she can’t do – it might take research and advance planning, but she can do anything any other kid can do.
She has been taught how to take care of herself because one day (which is coming way too fast) she will move out and be on her own. [Side note, Temple Beth El has gone above and beyond to keep my child safe and always included in every aspect of Temple life and for that I am truly grateful].
Both of my children are role models for me. They act out of courage daily as they have not let this diagnosis slow down our family. They do not live in fear. They live joyously.
Anyone who knows me knows I am an introvert by nature. I am not good with confrontation, public speaking, and I certainly do not like attention. Being a mom of a child with a medical diagnosis has changed all of that and it has made me find my courage. Since this diagnosis I have had confrontations with other adults when they thought excluding my daughter would be a good idea (don’t mess with mama bear!) I have also leapt out of my comfort zone by becoming President of a local food allergy nonprofit less than a year ago.
It’s not always easy but living life with courage is so much better than living in fear.
Randi is married to Jon Eccleston and they have two teenage girls, Hannah and Emma. Randi is currently the president of Parents of Allergic Kids.