Wow. I’ve been going non-stop since Friday at 10:30am until right now, when I am sitting down to finally write a blog post! The only way I can explain the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABLOGCON) is to say it was like being in a grown up Disneyland. The photo above is Henry Ehrlich checking in and receiving two full bags of swag! My mind was blown away and there were moments that I needed to step out of a session to regroup and refocus –there was so much data or emotion. I will begin posting tomorrow about the specific areas of the weekend that truly pulled at my heart-strings or kicked in my brain to high-speed. The beauty of this event is that it was kicked off with the Las Vegas Food Allergy Walk, you can still donate to walkers too (hint, hint..I’m only $170 short of my goal and am welcoming all donations). Words to describe this event: inspiring, motivating, somber, intellectual, practical, thrilling and exhausting.
Highlights from the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference and Las Vegas Food Allergy Walk
- Food Allergy Walk. The beauty of the balloons, booths, high energy JD and music, kids games and dance teams were the icing on the cake. The Gordin family, who spends hundreds of hours making this walk a success, really blew the top off of this event. I was particularly touched when I Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) CEO presented Nevada Senator Debbie Smith with an award for leading our charge to becoming the 4th state in the nation to mandate stock epinephrine. Attending the walk was Nevada Senator Justin Jones, who was a great supporter during our legislative process and who was literally walking his talk by fundraising and participating! How do you not love that?
- FABOGCON opening night meet and greet. The elegant room was lined with well loved vendors from Attune Foods (think Erewhon cereals), SunCups, Sanofi (Auvi-Q) and many more (check out the FABLOGCON website to see the complete list). Dressed in brilliant turquoise blue, event co-founder Jenny Sprague, kicked of the event with a moment of silent as she slowly read off the names of children and adults who have died this last year due to an allergic reaction. She then delivered a beautiful message of hope as she introduced Nevada’s shinning star Senator Debbie Smith. Senator Smith delivered a very motivating speech which left us all with hope that we can and will make change and do the right thing. Attendees are still posting about her talk on facebook! The biggest highlight for me was to finally meet people who I follow on a blog, twitter or facebook!
- FABLOGCON swag and Vendors. Upon check in, we were all greeted with smiles (0kay, I’m clearly biased since I was doing check in for a while) and two amazing bags full of goodies! Thank you kind vendors and attendees who donated such fabulous items! Curses to you Don’t Go Nuts…I’m now officially slave to your BlueBerry Blast Bars! I was trading for those like a drug addict. Not to mention that Attune Foods turned me onto their own healthier (yay) version of a chocolate rice krispie product that was rich in chocolate flavor called Erewhon Cocoa Rice Crispy Brown Rice Cereal.
- FABLOGCON sessions. There were two tracks, but attendees were invited to sit on any session. The speakers were stellar (biased, I spoke too) and I was upset that I missed some sessions to attend others and thankfully, all of the non-blogger sessions, such as Anaphylaxis, Food Allergy Testing, etc. were all video taped and will be available online (I’ll find out when). I will be posting this week about a few of the sessions and some key takeaways. This is where my mind kept getting blown away! There was so much rich information being shared and flying around. Henry Ehrlich, from Asthma Allergies Children was our keynote speaker who presented possibly a big game changer regarding food allergy therapies and solutions. Yes, I will write more about this too!
- FABLOGCON Wine and Sign. Imagine 22 of your favorite authors all in one room along with wine and vendors. The fours flew by and I wanted more. I was thrilled to death to finally meet Sue Ganz Schmidt, the author of the Princess and the Peanut! She was just as I had hoped, brilliant and down to the earth.
- My bookends. Ritesh Patel was my personal FABLOGCON bookends! We had ice cream as soon as I arrived on Friday afternoon and then with a larger group, enjoyed cocktails before I zipped off the airport. Ritesh is a social media guru and father of a food allergic son…but he is a Prada shoe wearing kind of guy who loves futbol (the real soccer) and a good laugh. It was great seeing Ritesh again and learning from his presentations.
- My feet. My feet have never been that swollen in my life! I had to wear sandals for one day after being on my feet at the Walk, registration and then the Meet and greet. My dark nail polish just made my toes look even bigger. I just couldn’t sit down to save my life! There we so many incredible people that I had to hug or meet face to face I had to keep jumping up!