This past week I had the opportunity to chat with Kathy McCarthy, owner of Allergy Haven, Inc. She started this initiative in 2006, with her main goal being to educate mothers like herself. At a young age, Kathy’s daughter was diagnosed with eczema, as well as a number of food allergies. "When [she] was born, she always had bad eczema on her face. There was never really great support from the doctors, and it took us awhile, but we finally found an allergist and got the diagnosis," recalled Kathy. “I created the site because I felt that people were diagnosed with little information, and from a mother’s perspective, there was this added anxiety,” she explained. Since then, her website, which started as a blog, has now expanded to include merchandise to help manage food allergies — ranging from insulated carriers to emergency cards.
Before our chat, Kathy sent me some items to check out and I loved them! Allergy Haven’s insulated pouch holds two EpiPens securely, and you don’t have to worry about them overheating. I also really love that the pouches come in bold colors and fun designs suitable for all ages.
Another great product from Allergy Haven is the “nut free” cone. I took it to work and placed it on my desk. Not only does it serve as a silent, but constant reminder to my coworkers that I am allergic to nuts, but it is also just a really fun desk accessory. What was Kathy’s inspiration for this unique item? "I thought it would be good for kids to have it at a nut-free table at lunch.”
A large amount of my conversation with Kathy revolved around how difficult it is to navigate life with food allergies — from finding safe places to eat to educating those around you. “FARE saved my life,” Kathy admits. “I'm all about education and empowerment.”
Coming soon from Allergy Haven will be an education kit for schools. “When my daughter went to preschool, I asked to give a presentation to her class [on food allergies] and they said no. So the kit will be a tool to educate the peers of a child with food allergies.”
When asked to give a piece of advice to mothers of children who have been recently diagnosed with food allergies, Kathy said this: “Empowerment will come through mastering your understanding of it. Get educated, and it will all be okay.”
Check out Allergy Haven at http://www.allergyhaven.com