How to Become a Food Allergy and Asthma Advocate

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My name is Thomas Silvera and I lost my son, Elijah, to food allergies. I thought it was a terrible joke – that there was no way what I was hearing could be true. The moment I heard those words, the trajectory and purpose of my life changed forever.

On Friday, November 3rd, 2017, my baby boy was given a grilled cheese sandwich by an adult at his daycare, despite them knowing he had severe food allergies to dairy. He went into anaphylactic shock and died. Elijah was three years old. It was a tragic accident that could have been avoided had the daycare staff taken swift action. Soon after, my life’s mission became educating people on food allergies, asthma, and how knowledge can quite literally save lives. That’s why I started the Elijah-Alavi Foundation.

It’s just allergies. How serious can it be?

We need to stop dismissing the severity of allergies and asthma. Yes, there are treatments and safety precautions that can be taken, but there is no cure, and the world can be a scary, allergen-riddled place. This is especially true for our children who are in the care of schools and daycares.

In fact, food allergies and asthma affect one in eight children, and every three minutes, a food-allergic reaction results in a visit to the emergency room.1 Furthermore, there are approximately 1.8 million ER visits per year due to asthma, with asthma being among the top three causes of hospitalization for children.2

These are staggering statistics. And if you’re like me, your reaction is “What can we do about it?” The answer is simple: Education and advocacy. For yourself, for your children, for teachers and caregivers, for other families, and even for healthcare providers.

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