We are proud to partner with support group leaders and community advocates across Canada to serve as local resources for individuals and families living with food allergy. This month, we feature Sally Melanson who leads the Greater Moncton Allergy Education Group (GMAEG).
Can you tell us a little about the GMAEG and how it came to be?
I recently took on the responsibility for leading the support group from its founding member, Angela Harris. When my infant son was diagnosed with potentially life-threatening food allergies, I sought out some local support and found the group. When Angela asked if I wanted to take it over, I jumped at the chance!
Can you tell us a little about your background and connection to food allergy?
My oldest son was 7 months old when he had a reaction to eggs. He had instances of eczema prior to his reaction, and we now think it was from eating things containing baked egg. When we served him his first scrambled egg, he picked it up, put it in his mouth, spit it out, and was quickly covered in hives. Fortunately, he didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction. Since that time, he has been diagnosed with allergy to egg, peanut and tree nuts. We learned fast to read labels and take actions to keep our son safe.
What do you think draws members to your group?
I think being in a small area, there are not a lot of options or ways where someone can find food allergy support locally. When I was searching, this was the one and only local support group to me.
How do you feel that your support group assists families living with food allergy in the Greater Moncton Area?
Our area is at a bit of a disadvantage, in that we do not have an allergist in our province, and the closest one is in Nova Scotia. This can mean extremely long wait times to receive a diagnosis and travel outside our province. We have had a lot of people needing some answers or guidance before they are getting the chance to see an allergist. While we can’t give medical advice, it’s nice to be able to direct them to some credible resources, like Food Allergy Canada’s site for information.
Where does your group meet?
Currently, we don’t meet in person. Our area is pretty spread out, but I am looking at hosting virtual meetings where those new to food allergy can speak to others who are experienced living with the condition.
Where can people find out more information?
By joining our Facebook group!
What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed with a food allergy, or who is having a difficult time managing food allergy?
I suggest you learn as much as you can about food allergy . Join all the Facebook groups that pertain to you. Sign up for Food Allergy Canada’s newsletter and check out their resources. Living with food allergy can be overwhelming at first but having connections that can help you navigate the first little while can make a huge difference.
Thank you Sally for sharing your story with us! To connect with the Greater Moncton Allergy Education Group or one of our other support groups, visit our support group page. If there isn’t one in your community, we’ll help you get one started.Tags: Greater Moncton Allergy Education Group, support group, Support group profile