Richie Williams Richie has been a patient at the MGH/MGHfC Food Allergy Center since November 2010. His mother, Christine, brought him to the center with a diagnosis of tree nut allergies. After a variety of tests indicated that he might not be truly allergic, Richie was recommended to have a food challenge to cashews at the center and he has since passed his challenge. He will continue to go through food challenges with several different tree nuts with almonds coming next.
“Richie was a different kid the day he walked out of that clinic able to eat cashews,” says Christine. “It gave him such hope that anything is possible. Our experience there has been life changing. The staff at the clinic are wonderful. They are kind and helpful and everything was done exceptionally well. We had great care, they work as a team and it shows.”
Lola and Miles Wolfgang Lola, 3, and Miles, 16 months, have been seeing Dr. Wayne Shreffler at the Food Allergy Center since November 2010. Both had already been diagnosed with multiple food allergies with Lola allergic to milk, egg, tree nuts, pea and lentil and Miles allergic to wheat, soy, milk, egg, beef and possibly other foods such as peanuts. Their mother, Sarah, brought them in to the center for a second opinion. She also wanted Miles to be a part of an oral immunotherapy study that the center hopes to conduct.
By safely demonstrating that Lola can tolerate some milk protein in baked foods, she has experienced an improved quality of life and may be overcoming her milk allergy sooner. Allergy testing for peanut is ambiguous for Miles as it is for as many as half of children diagnosed with peanut allergy, so Dr. Shreffler is planning on doing an oral food challenge to determine whether he may be able to eat it or should continue to strictly avoid.
“It’s such a relief because we are in frequent communication,” says Sarah. “The staff understands the stresses on food allergic families on a human level and seems to be doing all they can to alleviate them. Dr. Shreffler and his team, and others like him, are so close to effective treatments that will have a profoundly positive impact on allergic families. But they won't get there without our support. I hope all allergic families will realize what a critical time it is and help however they can, whether through development, advocacy, participating in studies and/or raising awareness.”