Here’s wishing everyone a “NORMAL” New Year???

Here’s wishing everyone a “NORMAL” New Year???

The holiday season often brings with it a reflection of the past year. Its highs, its lows, the challenges that we may have encountered and our hopes for the impending new year. Here Allergy Advocacy Association co-founder Jon Terry reflects upon this past year and offers his best wishes for a “normal” new year.

Staff of Allergy Advocacy Association. And Warm Holiday Wishes

By Jon Terry
December 6th, 2021

Greetings. As the holiday season begins, I sincerely hope you and your families are healthy and safe.

“Mom? What is…NORMAL?”
“It’s just a setting on the clothes dryer, honey.”

Looking back upon 2021, here in New York State I kept hoping and praying for a return to "NORMAL." I mean “NORMAL” from my own very personal perspective; of course, everyone has their own point of view and certainly yours will be a lot different from mine. Day after day, however, I didn't see much of anything resembling "NORMAL" happening all around me.

Just like everyone else the pandemic has changed so many different parts of my life: 

COVID-19 testing, social distancing, mask-wearing, vaccinations, busted businesses, price inflation, career changes, job losses, travel disruptions, recreation restrictions, isolation, loneliness, etc.  

I still feel reluctant to accept just how much daily life has been altered. Like it or not, I know things are never going to be entirely the same again.

For my work as an allergy activist advocate, all my routines, relationships and public events had to be changed. Naturally, that also included the Allergy Advocacy Association, too. To help me and our association to adapt, we followed the example of other activist advocates and non-profits; we listened to suggestions from our friends and affiliates; we learned from their new experiences working on behalf of individuals and families with life-threatening allergies.

They kept working; we kept working.
They adapted to circumstances; we adapted, too.
They dealt with new challenges using imagination and innovation; the same with us.

But fundamentally, they didn't change and neither have we.

The mission of our association remains the same: to help inform, educate, and raise awareness of the dangers of life-threatening allergies and to help prevent anaphylaxis emergencies. Epi Near You NY is a program of action; it’s our anaphylaxis emergency training program available to all members of the public free of charge. For our program of awareness, alertness, and action to be effective when presented to our audience, it must be done in a personal and professional fashion.

But we could no longer host face-to-face seminars; personal contact had become too risky for all concerned. Each seminar had to be less personal while still being presented in a professional manner. So, the pandemic has forced us to carry our message to our audience in an entirely new way. And we adapted and updated our presentation for viewing over the internet.

The result? During 2021 we held more ENYNY training sessions with a larger number of participants than ever before. Instead of limiting our training seminars to Monroe County we’ve expanded our outreach efforts across NYS. By using imagination and innovation, not only did we make the best out of a dire situation, we kept our program alive and not just alive but thriving, too.

But wait! There’s more!

  1. The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education & Research (FASTER) Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden. Enacted by Congress in 2020, this law would declare sesame as the ninth major allergen to be recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and would increase federal funding for food allergy research. By collaborating with national non-profit organizations (FARE, AAFA, The Network, FAACTS) our association played an important supporting role throughout the lengthy legislative process.
  2. Our association hosted the very first virtual Food Allergy Awareness Day in New York State. As a result of persistent and patient effort by so many activist advocates, our state legislature enacted A.4652 - S.4375. This new law authorizes forest rangers, park rangers, and environmental conservation police officers in all NYS parks to possess and administer an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) device in an anaphylaxis emergency.
  3. Our annual Action Awards event was also produced as a virtual event. By using the world-wide-web we had our largest number of celebrants since we had our first live in-person gala. Our EMCEE Brenda Tremblay and Magician Alan Hudson provided us with great entertainment and lots of laughs. We proudly honored Maya Konoff with the Ruthie T. Cornell award and Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo MD with the John J. Condemi award. We even managed to reach our fundraising goal for our celebration!

Thank you to everyone who donated to our association’s Action Awards event!

Thank you to the physicians, nurses and allergists who have volunteered their valuable time to participate in our Epi Near You New York seminars; their medical expertise has been essential to providing anaphylaxis emergency training here in western New York.

Thank you to all the legislators at the local, state, and national levels for enacting new laws supporting our efforts at improving access to life-saving epinephrine.

Thank you to all the visitors to our Web site, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages, and to all the readers of our e-newsletter. Your encouragement for and participation in our advocacy efforts is essential to all our future endeavors.

Finally, I am very thankful for our great production staff and our outstanding board of directors.

Is a return to “NORMAL” necessary for our association? No. What’s necessary is a daily attitude of gratitude for me and our association. By using patience, persistence, and prudence in 2022 we will continue to make progress. We will pursue the vision of our association: Not another life lost to anaphylaxis…. not another life lost to ANY life-threatening allergies!

Best wishes to all from everyone at our association. Have a happy holiday season!

Jon Terry, co-founder
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