Have you ever had one of those experiences that simply leaves your head whirling with ideas, gratitude and a sense of belonging? Last week all of those were wrapped around an inaugural Social Media Summit sponsored by Strand, the makers of Epi Pen®. I had hoped to write about this sooner, but alas, a nasty mean cold, a new asthma diagnosis and family visiting who just happened to come down with the flu when they arrived, derailed me! Life happens. Interestingly, my mind over week later is still swirling!
There were five major highlights I brought home that I want to share! Even though you might not blog about food allergies, you are part of our food allergy community and this event was all about our community coming together, sharing ideas, learning and being inspired to push just a tad farther.
- Inspiration. Meeting bloggers I adore was just beyond words. Unfortunately, I was loosing my voice and couldn’t talk as much to others as I would have liked, but it was so inspiring to meet face to face other women who have inspired me, guided me and supported me through this food allergy journey.
- Food. The food was so beautiful it made me want to cry. My son wanted to see my pictures from my trip and was thoroughly disappointed that they were either of food, a menu or the chef! The restaurant in the Strand was incredible and I will be blogging next week just about Chef Kelvin and the Strand Bistro!
- Belonging. After the FARE (formerly FAAN) Walk for Food Allergy in Las Vegas, NV, I had felt that same sense of belonging as I looked out into the mass of walkers realizing that I was truly surrounded by my peeps. My food allergy kind of people who didn’t think I was crazy for calling manufacturers from the grocery store aisle, wiping down a slide before my child slides down into peanut shells or simply grieving over an invisible disease that no one can see.
- Information. Dr. Ruchi S. Gutpa led us in a lively discussion of anaphylaxis. What made it so interesting was her viewpoints of how food allergic families address anaphylaxis and misconceptions from the general public. Clearly, I will blog about some lessons I learned from Dr. Gupta. I have much gratitude for Dr. Gupta as she emailed me key information that we will use in Nevada in our fight to bring stock epinephrine to our schools. Her discussion is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Confidence. If both my food allergic kids grow up to be as confident and grounded into who and what they are to the same degree as Sloane Miller (AKA Allergic Girl) I’ll be jumping up and down in my support hose! I have to confess that I had expected to hear the same kind of tips I have been hearing along regarding managing food allergies. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by Sloane’s approach of breaking down everything into bite sized components with her “no apologies” approach. I ordered her book, “Allergic Girl; Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies” right then and there as I could have listened to her talk all day long.
- Bonus take-away. Ritesh Patel was cheated out of his hour-long talk about blogging and miraculously fed us golden blogging “how to information” within half of his allotted time. We had sooo much discussion that we were running late by the end of the day! We even ate through our discussions since we did not want to stop for food! Not only was he intelligent, he wore smart-looking Prada shoes. Got to love a digitally savvy man in Prada.
Clearly, I need to write a few more posts regarding some ideas and worthy tips from Dr. Gutpa and Sloane Miller. I am grateful for Strand including me in this Summit and I hope that we’ll see more event likes this nationwide that aren’t just focused on bloggers but on parents and adults with food allergies. FARE offers various food allergy conferences throughout the country that I have enjoyed many times, but what I found invigorating about this event was that the format was interactive. We did not receive lectures, we participated in discussions. Solutions and ideas were flying endlessly throughout the room, we all departed inspired and ready to take life to the next level.
I believe change begins when ideas, solutions and discussion are honored in a creative non-judgemental space. As my daughter wrote on her bathroom mirror the other day, “Today I will be in the change in the world by being me”. Within this group of bloggers I was able to be me: a food allergic parent, blogger, red-nosed, coughing and all!
photo courtesy of Sloane Miller
I hope to see more Food Allergy Social Media Summits and similar events this year!
p.s. Here is the link to Sloane’s blog post regarding the event, she details who attended and links to their blog posts about the event: Blogger Summit 2013, Mylan Speciality
Oops, I forgot to add that Mylan picked up the travel and summit tab, but we were never asked for favorable support or were we compensated to attend the event. I always want to make sure I am transparent and out front-so sorry I forgot to add this piece in first thing this morning.