Overflowing thanksgiving; glorious gratitude!

As we wind up yet another year, it’s a good time to sit back and reflect on what has been accomplished in 2020. Of course nothing would have been possible without the hard work and support we receive every day from so many in our community. Here’s our founder Jon Terry’s list of people and organizations that have been especially helpful this past year in reaching our ongoing vision of "Not another life lost to anaphylaxis - not another life lost ANY life-threatening allergies!"

“Overflowing thanksgiving; glorious gratitude!”*

Allergy Advocacy Association staff in zoom call

By Jon Terry
December 17th, 2020

Greetings. At this time of an international health crisis, when all of us are confronting so many challenges and difficulties, I sincerely hope you and your families are safe and healthy.

Usually, my end of year letter is focused upon gratitude and thanksgiving, a list of items I felt fortunate to have participated in or achieved thru our program of awareness alertness and action.

I think what really makes activism and advocacy so meaningful is the people I meet. To be effective, activism and advocacy require a lot of social interaction and active participation; you've got to be social even if you aren't a particularly outgoing or sociable individual.

It's very gratifying to work with like-minded people, using a program of action not for yourself but for the greater good of everyone else.

Some people I meet are new acquaintances and some are old friends. Some I meet at a conference, a presentation or support group meeting. Regardless of where we meet, if I can help even a single individual or family by providing accurate and useful information then I find myself feeling grateful and thankful.

Unfortunately, during 2020 I did very little of all that. The corona virus crisis forced me and our association to avoid all public activities and everyone who would have participated. Most likely the same thing happened to you as well.

That's why, first of all, I want to list all the things I'm very sorry I had to miss.

In 2020 our association missed:

  • trips to the NYS Capitol in Albany, joining other activists and advocates supporting individuals and families with life-threatening allergies.
  • presentations we make thru our Epi Near You NY anaphylaxis emergency training seminars.
  • health fairs and fund-raising events here in western NY.
  • all of our friends and acquaintances we love to party with at our annual Action Awards Gala.

We did our best to be adaptable; keeping a flexible mindset; using an extra dose of creativity.

Our volunteers, board of directors and staff members all made an extra effort to produce Webinars and virtual events; we did our best to reach out to our affiliates and supporters wherever they are.

We tried hard to reach families living in isolation thru our website, e-newsletters and social media.

Secondly, despite COVID-19, I firmly believe that our association DOES have a lot to feel grateful and thankful about. Please see my “thank you” list below.

  1. Thank you to all of our staff and members of our board of directors for their time and expertise in support of our advocacy efforts throughout a very difficult year.
  2. 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.
  3. Thank you to all the members of Food Allergies Coping Teaching Supporting, the Rochester NY Food Allergy Support Group on FB and the Greater Buffalo Food Allergy Alliance. These three family support groups are doing invaluable work for all of their members here in western New York.
  4. Thank you to all the volunteers who attended the Food Allergy Awareness Day in Washington DC last March. The combined efforts with Food Allergies Research and Education and our association helped enact the FASTER Act, a new law that 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. Please see the Article# 2 inserted below.
  5. Thank you to everyone who made a donation to our association during our Allergy Action Awards Virtual Gala. Your generous support is very greatly appreciated!
  6. 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 of our future endeavors.

Please remember; just because I didn't hang out with y'all, that doesn't mean I didn't think about you; that doesn't mean I didn't miss you.

Perhaps we should add another item to our annual "thank you' list. The Allergy Advocacy Association is so very grateful for all of you, too. Thank you!

Very best wishes to everyone for a very safe and happy holiday season!

*Lailah Gifty Akita, Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind

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