What the Top 10 Challenge Means to Me

As a busy allergy mom who has little to no time for self-care, rarely hangs out with friends anymore, forgets the meaning of “date night,” and never ever has a clean house, I’m sure most of the people in my life thought I was crazy when I announced I was working to bring a version of an Australian fundraiser to Canada.

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🎉 I am SO excited that this is actually happening! After learning about @ausee_inc's Top 8 Challenge last year, I knew I wanted to bring something similar to Canada. Why? Because the idealist in me believes that if non-allergy folk lived a 'day on the plate' of someone with food allergies, that we might finally say good-bye to the eye rolls, the exasperated sighs, and the hurtful comments once and for all. If you dream of a more compassionate world for little ones/loved ones with food allergies, why not join the @top10challenge to help spread awareness & empathy…. and raise funds towards allergy research while you're at it? In our case, we're already dealing with multiple allergies, so I've challenged myself (and my family) to avoid the two allergens we would find particularly difficult to go without: dairy and wheat. For one day next April, I'll be able to experience what it's like to drink coffee without cream, eat gluten-free toast without butter, and avoid all of my favourite cheeses. Not only that, but I'll be looking at labels and ingredient lists through a whole new set of eyes. . 👆And that, my friends, is what the Top 10 Challenge is all about. Living a day in the life of someone you know or love with food allergies — to experience their challenges firsthand. The first challenge will take place in April 2019, in the days leading up to Food Allergy Awareness Month. Join us! 💙 . 📍 Want to participate? Register here 👉 bit.ly/top-10-register. Or, if you can't take part, consider sponsoring Team Jake instead (link in bio). 💓 All funds raised will be directly donated to Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation (CAAIF). . . . #top10challenge #caaif #fundraiser #awarenessinitiative #raisefunds #raiseawareness #allergyawareness #spreadawareness #spreadempathy #top10allergens #avoidallergens #adayinthelife #adayontheplate #foodallergies #lifewithfoodallergies #challengeyourself #foodallergiesbite #allergybites

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What can I say? I’ve always been a passionate person, and now that I have something important that I can actually fight for… I’m alllll in.

The story behind the Top 10 Challenge is really just me being inspired by a bunch of different women who were already making a difference in the world of food allergies. Well that, coupled with the fact that I’ve always preferred eating over walking/running — what can I say? I’m a foodie! — and I saw the challenge as a brilliant way to spread some much-needed empathy. I mean, what better way to truly ‘get it’ than to live a ‘day on the plate’ of someone with food allergies?

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This little guy used to be allergic to soy. After passing an oral challenge at our local children's hospital, edamame is a new favourite snack. That said, we know how hard it is to avoid soy because we've lived it… Wouldn't it be great if the people in your life 'got' your allergies? This is why I LOVE the idea of a challenge where participants cut out top allergens with the goal of raising funds and spreading awareness & empathy. ♡ If you love the idea too, would you take 5 minutes to take our short poll? (bit.ly/allergy-bites-poll) Your feedback could help bring this ultra cool fundraiser to Canada. Inspired by @ausee_inc's Top 8 Challenge. . . . #foodallergies #lifewithfoodallergies #foodallergyawareness #fundraiser #fundraising #top8challenge #top10challenge #topallergens #spreadawareness #spreadcompassion #spreadempathy #allergymom #allergymama #parentsofkidswithfoodallergies #allergybites #ausEE

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The truth is, I didn’t get it before my son’s diagnosis. Not even close. And I know that within the allergy world, there are those who don’t understand what others are going through. I know this firsthand because I got to see what it was like to only have to avoid the allergen that is most accommodated and understood (peanut!), and then later dealt with the one allergen that shows up in almost every ingredient list/where you least expect it (soy!), and am now trying my best to stay positive about an allergen that is outside of the top 10 and in most “allergen-free” foods (sunflower!). Each allergy comes with its own unique challenges — and we may not really understand what those are unless we’ve lived without those foods.

As much as we wish the rest of world would better understand (and empathize with) our struggles, the food allergy community can be pretty divided at times too. I’m hoping that by participating in the Top 10 Challenge — no matter if we have food allergies or not — our hearts will grow a little, the world will become a little kinder, and the future will be a better, safer place for our little ones. Is that too much to ask?

Want to help spread a little compassion? Register to participate here. (The challenge takes place in April 2019, so you’ve got lots of time to mentally prepare!)

P.S. We’re also aiming to raise $10,000 annually, to be donated to Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can donate here.


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