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KFA Rising Star: A Boy with Incredible Spirit
A BOY WITH INCREDIBLE SPIRIT
By Tanya Bumgardner
We all know how difficult managing food allergies can be, but imagine surviving cancer as well. Five-year-old Ian Black has done just that, but it doesn't stop this incredible boy from enjoying life to the fullest.
Ian was diagnosed with a Wilms' Tumor, a rare childhood cancer, in July 2005 when he was just three and a half years old. He underwent surgery to have the tumor and his left kidney removed. After months of treatment and clear CT scans, Ian's situation improved. He has now been treatment-free for 18 months.
In spite of Ian's challenges, he's still upbeat, says his mom, Carrie. Ian is “happy, silly, fun to be around. He is a very loving child,” she says. He loves kindergarten, trains, cars, and climbing anything that can be climbed. But he especially loves making music.
According to Carrie, he can turn nearly anything into an instrument. “He is quite the musician. If it can be played, he will play it! Kindermusik is great for this.” He gets a lot of his influence from his bass-playing dad. However, Ian's biggest love is the drums.
When it comes to his allergies to dairy and peanuts, Ian takes it all in stride. And dealing with allergies has been a learning experience for the Black family. Carrie found that learning to cook safe meals for Ian that the whole family could enjoy has been the most difficult part of living with food allergies. But on the positive side, she states, “I am more apt to experiment with my cooking now.” Ian also gets involved by helping his mom make safe chocolate chip cookies.
Aside from providing her with cooking advice, Kids With Food Allergies has also helped Carrie explain Ian's allergies to others. She feels that people usually don't take allergies seriously. She says they are treated as if “it's something you can just take an antihistamine for and be fine. I am now armed with research that I can use to get others to understand how serious a food allergy can be.”
Ian's family turns food allergies into positive experiencesWhile the Black family has had much to cope with managing both cancer and food allergies, Ian's attitude has been contagious. The family's motto is, “You can do this. It will take some time for you to learn how, but with patience, you will succeed!”
Ian with siblings Tessa and William.
“He is quite the musician. If it can be played, he will play it!” —Carrie Black, Ian's mom
Tanya Bumgardner is a freelance writer from
Cleveland, Tenn. She joined KFA in 2002 to help
her manage her son's allergies to eggs and
peanuts. She is a member of KFA's Publications
Team and is also anaphylactic to kiwi.