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KFA Rising Star: Finding Hope in the Face of Severe Allergies
Finding Hope in the Face of Severe Allergies
By Tanya Bumgardner
Ruthie Nash is your typical four-year-old in many ways. She loves to color, play with her pets, and sing the ABC's at the top of her voice. But unlike many other preschoolers, she copes with several severe allergies that restrict her to a diet of only elemental formula, red meat, chicken, pork, corn, and rice.
To put this into perspective, Ruthie has allergies to: soy, dairy, barley, buckwheat, gluten, oats, rye, wheat, egg yolks, egg whites, chocolate, honey, fish, clams, peanuts, almonds, black walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, peas, tomatoes, parsley, white beans, carrots, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, green beans, paprika, apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes. And that's just her food allergies. Ruthie is also allergic to dogs, cats, mites, molds, cockroaches, and several grasses and trees.
But Ruthie copes well thanks to her mother, Kimberly, and the help she receives from KFA. “KFA has helped in every way possible. I have found a lot of information about how to help my little girl deal with her allergies, eczema, and insurance problems. It is so nice to know that I can sit at home at any time and ask so many people a question and get so many wonderful, helpful answers,” says Kimberly.
Since KFA helps Kimberly manage her daughter's multiple allergies, Ruthie can focus on being a little girl. She has a collection of pets that would invoke envy in any child. Her animal-friendly house is home to Copper, the dog; Ms. P, the bearded dragon lizard; horses Mikey and Victor; and ducks Unicorn, Runaway, Scaredy Cat, and Curly. Ruthie also enjoys playing dress up with her stepsister, Kodi, and hanging out with her brothers, Christopher and Jamieson.
Family helps Ruthie cope with her allergiesRuthie now gets to support her brother Jamieson, who was just diagnosed with allergies to egg and wheat. According to Kimberly, “With Ruthie, it is fairly easy to feed her as she is allergic to just about everything. I automatically know a lot of foods are off limits. Now with Jamieson, I am finding it so hard as I have to read every label and call companies. Thank goodness for KFA. I feel like a brand new mom to allergies again! I love this support group. It has given me so much help. Ruthie is a great little sister to her brother. She keeps telling him, ‘Be careful, Jamieson...you have to read what is in the food.’”
While Ruthie's case is severe, she and her family are a testament to how the right support can add to quality of life when faced with a challenge like food allergies. Her allergies haven't dampened her outgoing spirit one bit. And Kimberly hopes Ruthie can be an inspiration to others with food allergies. “I would love to tell other parents that food and/or environmental allergies are not the end of the world for your child,” she emphasizes. “There are hundreds of parents and children out there facing the same problems you are. They might not be in the same town, but here at KFA they are just as close. It is nice to know when I get home at night, I can log in and talk or read about others with the same problems, and some seem worse than mine. KFA has given me answers, peace of mind, and hope.”
“KFA has helped in every way possible. I have found a lot of information about how to help my little girl deal with her allergies, eczema, and insurance problems. It is so nice to know that I can sit at home at any time and ask so many people a question and get so many wonderful, helpful answers.” — Kimberly Nash
Tanya Bumgardner is a freelance writer and the parent of a food-allergic child.