If You Wish You Could Do More… You Can!


Hello friends,

As a parent of children with food allergies, I frequently feel like I’m not doing enough to change the course of my children’s disease.  We are great allergen avoiders but I want to be proactive.  I want to play a role in effecting a change.

Isn’t there something I can treat them with to increase their chances of losing their allergic sensitization?  Isn’t there some sort of intervention that may help?  Isn’t there anything I can do to help bring about a cure or a treatment for food allergies?

Fortunately, for all of us…there is.  One of the most effective and efficient ways to support a cure for food allergies is to support research at Lurie Children’s in Chicago.

Research, both clinical and basic science, is where the answer is.  There is no way to unlock the mystery of food allergies without research and there is no research without financial funding.

For those of you not familiar with Lurie Children’s, they are the Midwest leader in specialty care devoted exclusively to children. Staffed with 1,100 pediatric specialists focusing on 70 specialties, they care for more than 149,000 children every year. With an array of progressive support programs and features, backed by the latest medical technology, Lurie Children’s is making critical strides to the advance the care provided to children who suffer from food allergies.

Will you consider joining my husband and I in supporting Lurie Children’s allergy research with a special gift before December 31st?

The Division of Allergy and Immunology, where I completed my fellowship training as an allergist, cares for more children with allergies and asthma than any other healthcare provider in the Midwest.  Dr. Jacqueline Pongracic and her team at the Lurie Children’s Bunning Allergy Institute, actively seek to improve the lives of children and families affected by food allergy through a commitment to clinical excellence and research.

Never before has there been a better opportunity to impact the lives of so many children through medical research.  

Last year, Food Allergy Initiative and its partners introduced the “Roadmap to a Cure,” a strategic plan that will lead to the development of a safe, effective FDA-approved treatment potentially offering protection to the majority of food allergy sufferers. Oral immunotherapy, or OIT, has shown tremendous results and is now ready for FDA Phase 3 trials.  Lurie Children’s faculty members, Melanie Makhija, MD, and Rachel G. Robison, MD, are currently gathering data in order to take a lead role in these life-changing OIT research studies.

Hosting medical trials unfortunately takes money.  The harsh reality of the current research funding environment is that federal support for research has slowed alarmingly at a time when the opportunities for progress are the greatest.  As more cases of life threatening allergy are identified each year, more children are counting on us to help fund life-changing and potentially life-saving research than ever before.

At this important time of year, I want to invite you to join me in helping the Division of Allergy and Immunology of Lurie Children’s acquire the tools they seek to better care for our children.  To do this, we have set a goal to raise $20,000 by December 31.  Funds raised will ensure that important clinical trials are launched in 2013 and researchers can continue to explore new treatments for our children.

By giving a monetary donation to support food allergy research, you will be a part of the answer.  Regardless of the size of your gift, 100% of your donation will go toward research that will directly benefit you or a loved one with food allergy.

You can make your gift to today by visiting Lurie Children’s website at heroesforlife.org/allergymom.  

As a special thank you, all donors of $100 or more will receive a special apron from The Allergist Mom and Lurie Children’s to wear while making your allergen-free treats this holiday season!  You might also consider making a gift in honor of a loved one with food allergy.  If you do, Lurie Children’s will send a special thank you packet to your special someone.  Other fun gifts are also available- see our full list of benefits at heroesforlife.org/allergymom.

I have presented this fundraising opportunity to you because I truly believe that research is the only road to a treatment or a cure for food allergies.  And if you are anything like me, that is all you really want!

Thank you, friends, for considering our request.

A very special thank you to our Corporate Sponsors, Nutphree’s Cupcakes and Enjoy Life Foods!

P.S.  A few months ago, I was interviewed for the Eric and Kathy’s 36 hour Radiothon to benefit Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.  In the interview I spoke about the serious nature of food allergies, how they have significantly impacted my family, and the singular importance of research in this field.  If you didn’t hear this segment during the Radiothon and would like to, please click on this link!   01 Eric and Kathy Radiothon

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8 Responses to If You Wish You Could Do More… You Can!

  1. Alina says:

    Thank you for discussing the importance of brining OIT clinical trials to Chicago. We live in Chicago and our 9 year old son has severe allergies to dairy, egg, peanuts, some tree nuts and fish. He is seen at Lurie Childrens locally but we have been frustrated that there has not been OIT clinical trials in Chicago (or anywhere in the Midwest). We were so frustrated and impatient that in January of 2012, we enrolled him in the Xolair/OIT dairy immunotherapy clinical trial at Mt. Sinai in New York City. Since Jan., we have flown to NYC monthly (and for 6 months, we flew there twice a month). In January, he had an immediate reaction to just traces of dairy powder to confirm he was in fact allergic, but after 6 months of incremental increases to diary, he is now able to ingest around 3 oz. of dairy on a daily basis. He is no longer increasing his dose, but rather maintaining the exposure to that level of diary for another 1 1/2 years with the hopes that his body will outgrow and become desensitized to dairy. We will still need to fly NYC monthly until they are ready to give him a formal food challenge, but we have great expectations. We feel that, not only are we helping to advance research in OIT (which seems extremely promising), we are also helping him overcome one of his allergies (and dairy, to us, is the most challenging). However, if it is successful, we will still need to tackle his other allergies, including peanuts, and we would love to do that in Chicago. I just wanted to affirm our support for both brining OIT to Chicago AND encouraging patients to participate in those trials if they do come. Our son has been a total trooper (and has logged in some serious frequent flier miles!). It is a shame that for too long, many other major cities (New York, San Francisco, Baltimore, etc.) have had OIT studies but Chicago has not. Let’s change that NOW. Thank you again for raising awarness of this extremely important develompent in finding a cure for food allergies.

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your experience with OIT! I really hope that we can raise enough money here to bring more clinical trials to Chicago! Thank you again! Have a great day!

  2. Josh says:

    This is interesting. I would take my two-year-old to Chicago for trials.

    • Sarah says:

      That’s why we need the financial support! To be able to offer families these trials is expensive and Lurie’s wants to get the studies moving! Thanks for your comment, Josh!

  3. Thanks Sarah for spreading the word on the wonderful things we are doing at Lurie Children’s! Being the Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator at Lurie Children’s for our Food Allergy clinical trials has been such a great experience and I can’t wait to meet our future participants and families for the promising Food Allergy studies starting in 2013, including a couple of Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) studies!

    • Sarah says:

      You are very welcome. It truly is my pleasure to work with Lurie’s Allergy Division to raise important funds for food allergy research! Please keep me posted on the trials so that I can continue to help spread the word!
      Thanks, Maripaz.

  4. Anna says:

    Speaking of Lurie Children’s have you seen that they are doing a NEW Wheat OIT study that they are currently enrolling? Other sites enrolling include Mt. Sinai, Johns Hopkins and Stanford.

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