Disclosure: This blog post outlines details from a Mylan Blogger Summit I attended in May 2015. Mylan (the pharma company that makes EpiPens) paid for my travel expenses and for my Disneyland Resort park ticket in exchange for my evaluation and feedback on information presented during the meeting. All comments made by me about EpiPen (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injector, Mylan, and/or the Mylan Blogger Summit are at my own discretion and based on my own opinions.
As a food allergy parent and advocate (see food allergy posts here), I occasionally have the opportunity to partner with various companies to help increase awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis. Those of you who know me understand that I’m very cautious about these types of relationships and am very careful to make sure that the relationships are mutually beneficial. By this, I mean that I’m not willing to simply be a “mouthpiece” for a company in exchange for a free meal or, in this case, a free trip. There needs to be something compelling that will either help me to be a better parent/manage my daughter’s food allergies and/or allows me to help other families as an advocate.
I’ve been invited to attend multiple blogger events hosted by Mylan over the past few years. I’ve been able to attend one a few years ago in New York and, most recently, one in California last month. They definitely make these events worth my while because they give me the ability to:
It was last Monday night, Memorial Day actually, and I had just laid down on the couch with a sigh after putting away the last of laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, wiping down counters and getting the kids ready for bed. A typical weeknight scene around here. But then something weird happened.
The upper part of my stomach, right up near my chest started cramping up.
I was dizzy.
Nausea hit me so hard I ran for the bathroom.
And then cold sweats, so hot and cold at the same time that I started stripping off all my clothes because I couldn’t decide what temperature I was. I found my way to bed and lay down, breathing rapidly and was slightly disoriented. Something was wrong. I knew it wasn’t normal. I was worried.
My mind raced, thinking about what could possibly be happening. And then it hit me… I grabbed my phone and looked up “heart attack symptoms for women” because I remembered learning they are “different for women than they are for men” and that many women don’t recognize the signs in themselves. Here’s what I found from American Heart Association:
I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you how impressed I was by the new Space Exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Jason and I brought our four children to visit (ages 7, 9, 13 and 16) and they all loved it! We also saw the Journey to Space movie in the OmniTheatre and were equally impressed.
One of the first things we noticed that was different is a GIANT space suit in the middle staircase of the museum. We were all amazed at how big it was (maybe 3 or 4 stories) and instantly wanted a selfie!
I attended a special Mylan Blogger Summit meeting this week in California at the Disneyland Resort. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to meet with them and other bloggers to talk about food allergies, anaphylaxis and ways to improve access and experiences for families managing food allergies. Please note: Mylan paid for all of my travel expenses and for my Disneyland Resort park ticket in exchange for my evaluation and feedback on information presented during the meeting. All comments made by me about EpiPens, Mylan, and/or the Summit are at my own discretion and are based on my own opinion.
I plan to write more about the experience soon, but in the meantime I created a “storify” of all the tweets for those of us attending and using the #MylanEvent hashtag. It’s a fun way for you to see and hear what we experienced.
Did you know it’s Food Allergy Awareness Week? Each year in May the people and businesses who support those with food allergies speak up in unison to try to educate others and raise awareness of food allergies. This year it seems like the voices are even louder than the year before, and the year before that. Maybe it’s because more children are being diagnosed each year and their caregivers are stepping up to help. Maybe more people are realizing that raising our voices up in unison can make a difference in the lives of our children – help keep them safe, supported, included.
This year, even President Obama is showing his support for those with food allergies. You might remember when the news broke that one of his daughters has a severe peanut allergy. It’s no surprise, then, that he’s been supportive of epinephrine access for schools and that he spoke out this year for Food Allergy Awareness Week.
As far as I know, no other President’s have spoken out publicly in support of food allergies. My hope is that it will help lend credibility and a more powerful voice to help our efforts in educating doctors, schools and classmates about how to help keep children safe and included. You can see a picture of the letter below, if you click on it you will see a full size version.
In other news, I’ve been doing my part to help raise awareness. As a volunteer board member for the Food Allergy Support Group of Minnesota, I’ve been helping with some of the food allergy facts and content this week on our social media channels and Facebook support group. Today I wore teal for “Teal Takeover” day and yesterday I was honored to be a guest on a special podcast on food allergies hosted by Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.
I’ve had a number of positive experiences with Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis as a parent of little ones, including a food allergy emergency. They are a top-notch hospital with incredibly talented doctors and staff who really do a great job with kids. I’ve been equally impressed with their marketing, social and fundraising teams, all of whom I’ve encountered as peers in the Twin Cities through various associations and events. So when they asked me to contribute to their Mighty Kids blog a couple of times, and now the podcast, I jumped at the chance to help.
I hope you’ll take a listen and share it with others you think may find it helpful. And if you’re looking for resources on Food Allergy Awareness Week, check out the great materials from FARE.