Monday, April 14, 2014

Talking Food Allergies at Mylan Specialty’s Blogger Summit

By Kelley Lindberg

It’s not every day I get to feel like I’m making a difference in the world. But last week, I was privileged to join over a dozen other food allergy bloggers at the home of Mylan Specialty L.P., the makers of EpiPen® epinephrine auto-injectors, where we put our heads together to do just that.

Food allergy bloggers convene at the
Mylan Specialty Blogger Summit
Mylan generously brought us to their beautiful new Canonsburg, PA, facility to be updated on the current state of food allergy research, learn about new developments with EpiPen® education, and hear about the progress on legislation allowing individuals and entities to stock epinephrine (among other topics). But even more importantly, they provided us with a forum to share our stories and ideas with them and with each other.

As I sat in the room (a little in awe of the other bloggers, many of whom I’ve been reading for a long time and think the world of), I was a bit dazzled to think of how many people we reach between us every month. People who are newly diagnosed and frantic with worry, people who are settling into their new food allergy routines and looking for kindred spirits, people who are entering new stages of their (or their children’s) lives and need a trail marker or two to find their new path. Because of the tireless efforts over the years of those 15 food allergy bloggers in that conference room, thousands—probably tens of thousands—of food allergic adults and children have found candles in the darkness. They’ve found new recipes, new products, and sometimes new doctors. They’ve found encouragement, advice, and support. They’ve found ways to talk to teachers, methods for handling in-laws, and survival tips for holiday parties. And they’ve told us what matters to them.

So we were all able to take those conversations to Mylan and represent those tens of thousands of worried people in our meeting. We were able to talk about what matters to us, what scares us, what thrills us, and what frustrates us.

So if you’ve ever read one of our blogs, commented on it, or shared your food allergy story with any of us, you were right there in that conference room with us. And we were able to make suggestions for improving education and raising awareness, offer ideas for future research, and share ideas with each other for strengthening food allergy support in our own communities. (As a huge bonus, I was able to connect in a very real, very personal way with people I admire, forming friendships that I already treasure!)

What I learned at the Mylan Food Allergy Blogger Summit filled pages and pages (and pages and pages) of my notebook – too much for one blog post! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing that information, so be sure to check back each week. (And I'll be posting a blog roll of all the bloggers who attended as soon as I get it, so you can add them to your reading list!)

[I disclose in any communication made by me about EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injector and/or the Mylan Spcialty Blogger Summit that such communication is at my own discretion and based on my own opinion. I also disclose that my travel expenses were compensated by Mylan Specialty in exchange for evaluation and feedback on information presented during the meeting.]

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