Our Whole Story
Food allergy? What’s that? We could not recall any childhood friends that had had food allergies. Either there weren’t food allergies when we were growing up or no one paid much attention. Once we had our son Derek, our awareness of the surroundings and other kids heightened exponentially. First, came little Derek’s projectile vomiting of cow’s milk. Then, came the skin rash after eating eggs and certain snacks. Next, came time for the doctor’s visit. Any parent whose child has a food allergy has experienced this unforgettable scene: at least 50 different types of extracts were carefully placed on his tiny back, and then he was pricked with a sharp object. Derek was crying. We were both in tears as we held him, desperately wanting to take his place. But, of course we could not. He was barely one year old.
The test quickly revealed that Derek was allergic to eggs and peanuts, among other things. “Peanuts!” we shouted with disbelief. After doing some research, we learned that a peanut allergy is one of the most severe food allergies. We simply could not believe that our little boy had this potentially fatal food allergy. Our journey down the land mined field of eating and our son’s safety was just beginning. From that moment on, we examined every label on every food package. We trained Derek to ask if food given to him contained peanuts. The EpiPen became a necessary accomplice. We lived in complete fear.
The big questions loomed: Could we find a preschool that cared or were food allergy aware? What if there was a substitute teacher? Could he ever go to a friend’s house for a playdate? To birthday parties? To the play ground? When we traveled away from home. If only we could put a “No Peanuts!!” sign on his forehead or every one of his shirts. We wanted something that could alert people to his food allergies to protect our little boy, before a cure is found. We began to brainstorm many different ideas . . . and that’s how AllerblingTM came about.
AllerblingTM is a visual educational tool and a conversation piece that has the potential to save children’s lives, by raising awareness of a child’s food allergies. AllerblingTM is cute and approachable, so kids will want to wear it. Yet it is clearly marked as a medical product for children’s caregivers. It displays the iconic symbols of the food products that are risky to the children. Kids can display their food allergies and their teachers and caregivers can be constantly reminded at a glance. We believe the AllerblingTM wristband will help young children, ages three and up; as they learn to read and talk about the ingredients in the food they eat; and what is not safe for them. It is a product that reduces children’s health risk and that is no child’s play!
Hsinhan and Qunli Wu, Founders