I wanted to let you know about a website that has been helpful to me, entitled Food Allergy Survivors Together (FAST). FAST is located at www.angelfire.com/mi/FAST/. What is unique about this site is that it offers a forum for people with food allergies. There are places for interaction, such as a chat room and mailing list. Best of all, the information on the site is free, and is contributed by site visitors. The group was started by a teenager in 1997 after her diagnosis of food allergies by her allergist, and is still maintained by the same person. Therefore, it has no corporate sponsors or medical/treatment bias.
I thought that the site might be helpful to your patients who are diagnosed, or who have children who are diagnosed, with food allergies. Often people feel alone after a diagnosis, and since so few people have true food allergies, it's difficult to find others with food allergies to commune with. FAST offers an unique opportunity for parents and allergics themselves to team up with others in the same situation.
Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics says that FAST has
"a wealth of user-friendly information" (April/May 2000). I feel that your patients might find this to be true.
Attached is a letter that introduces FAST. Additional copies can be found at: http://www.angelfire.com/mi/FAST/allergists.html
A diagnosis of food allergies can hit you like a brick wall! I know, because this is what happened to me. Sick for years, I was misdiagnosed by doctor after doctor until I finally went to an allergist and was tested and diagnosed with food allergies. My immediate thought was "I want someone I can talk to about this!" However, I was quick to discover that there really aren't that many people out there who have "true" food allergies. Because of this, it can be very difficult to find others who can offer both moral support and advice.
This is why I started Food Allergy Survivors Together (FAST). I wanted to offer a place where people could go to make friends, find recipes, and learn more about how to live with a potentially scary and confusing disorder. FAST is for parents of allergics, children, and adults with allergies. Everyone is welcome, and there are sections of the site that will appeal to all ages.
"FAST has enabled Alex to survive and thrive. The kindness of the people on the mailing list has been amazing -- down to helping provide Alex with his food when we could not get it in our area" (Lynn).
At FAST you will find caring people -- people who know just what you're going through. Through its interactive forums (a chat room and e-mail list) you will meet those who can most closely empathize with you.
"It warned me about natural flavorings" (Angela).
You will also find information that can otherwise potentially take years to learn about food allergies; for example, that not all food ingredients need to be present on a label.
"It keeps me aware on a daily basis that we are not alone in this struggle" (Jenn).
You aren't alone! I hope you will give us a visit very soon. We look forward to getting to know you.
Founder of FAST