Meet A Food Allergy Angel
“You can always tell a pioneer by the number of arrows she has in her back,” a friend once said. And on the landscape of childhood, this rings true, especially for those in the food allergy world.
One of the true pioneers for children with food allergies is Nicole Smith, the founder of Allergic Child. Her work is absolutely extraordinary, and her strength and encouragement have been life lines to so many of us in this space, including countless families dealing with this condition.
So it is a profound honor and with so much gratitude that we are highlighting Nicole’s work, in this story written by Angie Nordstrum, founder of Boulder AllergyKids.
Iron Jawed Angel
When I was thrust into the food allergy world six years ago, one of the first food allergy advocates I found was Nicole Smith and her website, AllergicChild.com As the mom of a newly diagnosed son with dozens of severe food allergies, I was desperate for resources and information. As I poured over the web for how to navigate in this foreign food allergy world, AllergicChild.com provided me mom directed resources and information of how to survive in this new normal.
Nicole is one of those “iron jawed angels.” She has a lovely sweet twang when she talks but when she speaks about food allergies she has a forceful presence. She has blazed the trail for food allergy families in Colorado and across the nation.
Books and School Advocacy
After learning of her own son Morgan’s life threatening food allergies, Nicole wrote Allie the Allergic Elephant: A Children’s Story of Peanut Allergies, Cody the Allergic Cow: A Children’s Story of Milk Allergies and Chad the Allergic Chipmunk: A Children’s Story of Nut Allergies. I read all of these books to my own son and Boulder Allergy Kids currently reads them to children’s classes to create better understanding and compassion for food allergic friends.
Nicole has helped school districts across the United States manage food allergies and create safe environments for food allergic children. She was a founding member of her school district’s Food Allergy Task Force, which continues its mission today to assist students and families managing life threatening food allergies in Academy District 20.
In Colorado, Nicole was the driving force to get Senate Bill 09-226 introduced and passed into law requiring all school districts to have a policy to keep food allergic children safe at school. Two years of meeting with senators, representatives and board members of the department of education culminated in the bill being signed into law by Governor Bill Ritter during Food Allergy Awareness Week in 2009.
When Boulder Allergy Kids saw the need to bring more food allergy awareness to our local school district, Nicole offered us support in how to create a Food Allergy Task Force, how to present before the school board and how to draft school district guidelines. Her guidance and support were invaluable and made this process go very smoothly for our district.
Current Food Allergy Work
Nicole is currently working to spread support for the passage of S 1884, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act,. This bill would allow schools across the nation to have “stock”EpiPens on hand for use by trained staff to use in case of an allergic reaction at school. Nicole has led the way in enlisting Colorado support group leaders to request members write their senators for passage of this critically important bill
Nicole currently serves on the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) Advocacy Steering Committee to help build a strong nationwide presence for the food allergy community in the public policy arena, and to actively seek to increase federal funding for food allergy research. Additionally, she participates in the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) Support Group Advisory Council.
Coming from childhood spent on several military bases, Nicole has a strong connection to the challenges of military life. As a member of the FAI (Food Allergy Initiative) Advocacy Steering Committee she has been working to obtain food allergy research funding. Recently she has been gathering letters from members in the military and their families to send to Chairman Bill Young of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Many of us in the civilian population may not be aware of the issues that members of the military and their families have with food allergies. They get a school district trained on EpiPens and food allergy awareness, and then they are reassigned and get to start all over again!
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network’s Summit Conference 2012
Nicole will be speaking in Chicago, IL and in Anaheim, CA at the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network’s Conference with three other FAAN Executives on the topic of “Advocating for your Child with Food Allergies in Schools.”
I’m looking forward to seeing Nicole present later this week in Chicago at the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network’s Conference. As a food allergy mom and representative of Boulder Allergy Kids, I am so eternally grateful to Nicole for the work she has done for our food allergic kids. She is a true iconoclast in the food allergy community, a mom who has truly made numerous life changing impacts for so many families.
NIcole’s Additional Accomplishments
• Served as Treasurer for the non-profit organization, Kids With Food Allergies, Inc.
• Graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D. C. and went on to work in the field of finance for several years.
• Nicole and her husband, Bob, own Allergic Child Publishing Group, the publishing company for Allie, Cody and Chad.
Nicole can be reached as follows: