RUTGERS UNIVERSITY HALF MARATHON New Brunswick, N.J. Sunday, April 13, 2014
NEWPORT-LIBERTY WATERFRONT HALF MARATHON Jersey City, N.J. Sunday, Sep 22, 2014
To my Dear Family and Friends:
Last September, many of you were generous and more importantly by my side in person, spirit & mind as I ran my first half marathon on behalf of millions of children across America that are battling food allergies every single day. Without your support and love, Id never thought running 13.1 miles was in my ability. For that, I am so grateful for your generosity and love.
For those of you that are joining me and reading “our story” for the first time, I thank you in advance in understanding and gaining awareness of the severities food allergy conditions can bring to children & their families.
Our Story: By now you are well aware that I am a mom of two beautiful children with severe anaphylactic food allergies. The simple pleasures of drinking milk, eating eggs, peanuts or even milk chocolate have a whole new meaning in our household. Our lives drastically changed when I gave my daughter, Mia, baby yogurt for the first time. Right before my eyes within minutes I saw a 10 month old baby girl go into an anaphylactic shock. For those of you that do not know what this means, picture a child swell up like a balloon into hives and in minutes begin coughing gasping for air. Seeing a 10 month old fight for a breath of air. What does this feel like? If you are a parent, picture your heart literally stop before your eyes and you have not a clue on what is going on... All you do is RUSH to the emergency room for help. I still thank God above that He was with us in the car as I drove to the emergency room. Because of Him, we arrived in one piece and in time before her throat was officially closed. Upon entering into the hospital all I can vividly remember was a needle being injected into her little thigh, the EPIPEN -The medicine that literally saved her life. I held my daughter as she gasped for air crying. Literally witnessing a metamorphosis, she came back to her beautiful blue-eyed self. All I could do as a mother was hold her as our tears became one flowing stream. It was at that moment the doctor said, “Its time to pay a visit to the pediatric allergist. “Mia is allergic to Dairy.”
Who would have thought that a baby yogurt would have drastically changed our lives. The reality is that six million children in America live with food allergies today. For us adults food allergies are pretty new to us. Many of us never grew up with a friend or sibling with food allergies. This unfamiliarity leads to great misunderstandings about food allergies. Unless you are a mom or dad that has experienced such sensitive incidents, you cannot fully comprehend its severity. There's a great deal of mental reconditioning, and a real shift in thinking that needs to happen for us adults to truly understand. No, It’s not lactose intolerance. It’s life-threatening and in seconds life can change if we are not educated and aware.
I knew God was telling me something when I was blessed with another extraordinary child. My son, Maximus. He was not only as amazing as my daughter, but IDENTICAL with the exact food allergies. I knew the moment the pediatric allergist said, “they might as well be twins”… is when life was about to change for us at home.
I took a deep look into the mirror and was starring at a different woman looking back. I was an ‘ALLERGY MOM’. And it was at that very moment that I never looked back to my old life. I made the decision to dedicate my life to my children as any parent would, but this was different. This was a dedication to make sure that they will live everyday as NORMAL, HEALTHY, HAPPY and ALLERGY FREE as any other child. It was the best decision of my life. Many know me as an extremist. Indeed I am. But it is my duty as a mother to teach a 3 year old on how to live & flourish with her food allergies. So far, Its remarkable to hear her explain how she cannot drink cows milk because it will cause an ‘emergency’. Or hear her scream, “mommy we forgot my allergy bracelet” and turn the car around because it’s our duty to wear it at all times. She amazes me every day. Or maybe it’s the countless times we read “Cody the allergic cow”, or the countless times I have rigged the Melissa & Doug Milk carton to say RICE MILK or ALMOND MILK. What ever it takes to make my kids safe. Lord knows, I can recite you 37 different words that mean milk on ingredient labels. Or the difference between casein, sodium lactate or potassium lactate...It’s crazy how life has changed.
It is has changed so much that I am now not only a blessed mother of two children with food allergies, but became an advocate to spread awareness and do everything possible to help other families battling food allergies everyday. I am in the process of becoming a certified Health Coach and building a business to help other families become educated in creating food allergy management strategies to improve the quality of life for their children. If you are my facebook or instagram friend, by now you have probably seen a dairy free recipe to make life a bit easier at home. I have had the pleasure of teaching many teachers in schools on how to utilize an epipen because unfortunately school budgets cant cover these seminars. To know that these simple acts can potentially save a child’s life is worth every minute of my time and every inch of my heart. You will be hearing more from me throughout the year as I continue to master the nutrition knowledge and graduate as a LIFE COACH.
For those of you that do not have a food allergy at home, below is what I wrote in my last years fundraising page that still remains strong in my thoughts everyday…
As an allergy mom, I have laid awake at night, wondering if I will be able to spot the signs of our child's throat closing. I have been thoroughly trained the hard way that anaphylaxis can happen in less than two minutes, but more importantly, will my daughter’s pre-school teacher be able to identify this emergency? Or will my daughter or son be able to explain how they are feeling by accidentally eating another child’s goldfish. I pray these incidents will never happen. But as an allergy mom, that’s all we can do…EDUCATE, TEACH our kids but more importantly, PRAY. As an allergy mom, living in “closet anxiety” is an understatement. A casual holiday family meal is not as calm as one would think. You see, we spend those meals replaying the emergency plan in our head while quietly observing our child's breathing as she enjoys her dairy free pizza.
Some may think this is very difficult to manage and that life may get hard. Yes it is at times, BUT we are grateful and humbled on how fortunate we are to be the parents of children with ONLY food allergies. While indeed it’s a life-threatening medical condition, it is manageable. And as long as we have support from our family & friends our children will be HAPPY, HEALTHY, SAFE & ALIVE. For this we are forever GRATEFUL.
So yes, living with a constant threat is a lot for a 3 & almost 2 year old, but they will never be alone. ALLERGY MOM will do everything possible to make life seamless and happy. With your help as well, millions of children across America and their families are getting support and guidance from foundations like these to learn on how to LIVE and maintain Allergy free lives.
My children prove to me everyday how strong & brave they can be. So I will proudly continue to prove to them that mommy can run in their honor and spread awareness. One Half marathon for Mia next week and another for Max in September.
Thank you to those who donated last year. With your support, we were able to raise $3K in one week! My family and our story had the honor to be featured in the Kids with Food Allergies Spring press release that went to over 10 million households across America. If you donated last year you received a copy :-)
I THANK you for taking a moment to read our story and be a part of our lives. Know that over 6 million children and their families across America have a similar stories. Your Support can save a child’s life no matter how big or small the donation is… IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
In Good Health,
Lilly Bussin “Allergy Mom”
Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) educates families to prevent life threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) and to be prepared to respond to allergic emergencies. Educating families and communities is essential to saving children’s lives and keeping them safe and healthy.
With your help, we will educate, support and advocate on behalf of children. Your gift will make a difference for the six million children affected by this potentially life-threatening disease. Thank you for taking Strides for Safe Kids!
|David Koremba||09/20/2014||$50.00||Giovanni Cerullo||09/20/2014||$50.00||Good luck!!!||Vincent Ossorio||09/17/2014||$20.00||Love you!! We know you are going to do great! And we are so happy to raise awareness as well as help you live your dreams!||Nancy Magalhaes||09/16/2014||$50.00||Very proud of you Lilly.||Eric Altmann||04/15/2014||$250.00||Caity Noonan||04/14/2014||$50.00||Mary Ann Finucane||04/14/2014||$50.00||Dearest Lilly aka Allergy Mom. As always I am in complete awe of you. God Bless you and your beautiful family!!||Daniel & Margie Raimondo||04/13/2014||$200.00||Saluting my daughter who strives to make a difference and a better world for my grandkids and all those children out there and to come who suffer from life threatening allergies. This type of awareness is priceless :). Strides for safe kids, you're doing a great job!!!!||Desiree Rico||04/12/2014||$100.00||Good luck lil!! We love you! Love, desi Anthony and maddie||Nelson Pinilla||04/12/2014||$100.00||You doing a great Job Lilly Love you.||Wilson Pinilla||04/12/2014||$50.00||Nana we are so Proud of you for your incredible dedication We love you.||Jill Weinreb||04/11/2014||$10.00||Bruce Forester||04/11/2014||$100.00||Anthony and Laura Nethercutt||04/10/2014||$3,000.00||David Bussin||04/09/2014||$256.00||You are an inspiration. Maximus & Mia are the luckiest little kids in the world.||Matthew Novick||04/08/2014||$50.00||Jim Ryan||04/08/2014||$20.00||Good luck Bussins! Jim||Jeannette Castaneda||04/08/2014||$100.00||Lily and David, you both exemplify the purest forms of love, courage, endurance and strength. Lily, you are an inspiration in so many ways and I can’t even put into words how much I admire you. May God bless your beautiful family always. I love you.||Joseph Ranzenbach||04/08/2014||$5.00||Rex Farrand||04/08/2014||$20.00||Great cause, good luck David!||Manik Khanna||04/08/2014||$50.00||Daniel Murcia||04/08/2014||$50.00||Continue the journey <3||Nora Pinilla Shapiro||04/08/2014||$100.00||I'm so proud of you mi niña!I Love You!||Juliann Head||04/08/2014||$50.00||Aaron Schiller||04/08/2014||$25.00||Keep educating and inspiring!||Rae Bussin||04/08/2014||$36.00||So proud of you and what you're doing! Mimi and Poppop Alan||Nicole Pica||04/07/2014||$75.00||Lily, you inspire me. Your dedication and strength are amazing. I am so honored to know you and call you family! Love you, knock em dead XO|