Hello, and welcome to the FoodASC Directory. I am so happy to have you!
My name is Dr. Donna DeCosta.
I am a physician specializing in radiology, but more importantly (and the reason FoodASC exists), I am the married mother of two sons with multiple life-threatening food allergies.
In 2000, I was at the kitchen table talking on the phone with my mother when I gave my then 2-year-old son a bite of a peanut butter sandwich. He immediately started itching and broke out in hives. Vomiting quickly ensued followed by a trip to the fire station, pediatrician’s office and allergist—talk about mommy guilt! (Read the extended version of our story here.)
Shortly after my son’s diagnosis, I attended a Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) conference. The food allergy world was new to me (and a little scary). I wanted to find out as much as I could so as a family, we could be proactive in my son’s care and connect with a local community. I was dismayed to discover there were no food allergy support groups in my area.
In response, I founded Supporting Allergic Families through Education (SAFE), a local support group involved in food allergy education and networking where I served as the primary facilitator for three years. More than a decade later, S.A.F.E. continues to serve a loyal following, and I am again serving as facilitator.
After attending a retreat in 2006, I was motivated to write a food allergy book based on the collective experiences of families living with food allergies as well as the professionals who care for them. It took seven long years of working full time and writing in my spare time, but with the help of my friend and collaborator, Meg Carey, I published A Little Bit CAN Hurt: The Shocking Truth About Food Allergies—Why We Should Care, What We Can Do. It was definitely a labor of love!
During the writing of the book, as I interviewed families and spoke with my support group members, I noticed a common thread among many of them. Although food allergies can be overwhelming at first, many found that over time they could be manageable with education, preparation and being proactive. This realization was a light bulb moment for me, and I wanted to communicate the power of that message with others.
So, in 2010, I founded FoodAllergyMomDoc.com. Through this website, social media and my book, I focused on supporting the “Food Allergy Circle,” a term which I coined to define the food-allergic individual and the family members, friends, educators, medical professionals and others who care for that food-allergic person. I wanted to help both families and individuals manage the daily stress of living with food allergies as well as empower their children.
FoodASC, founded in 2016, is the next manifestation of my goal to create an interactive community around these serious health concerns so that people don’t have to face the journey alone. The idea of this directory came while speaking with a mother of a food allergic child. (See Food ASC is Born.) The directory not only gives useful information and resources for the food allergy and sensitivity communities, but it also provides a platform for relevant bloggers and businesses to share their services and products. I’ve also expanded the scope of the community to include celiac disease, gluten sensitivities and other restricted diets which coexist in many families.
I am a passionate advocate of the food allergy and sensitivity community. I designed FoodASC to be a community resource for people navigating the challenges of dietary restrictions so that they can connect with others living with similar struggles. I envision it to be a place where people can find resources to help manage daily challenges, learn from friends and experts, and become more empowered.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many amazing families in the food allergy and sensitivity community. Having the opportunity to encourage and support others has been an amazing gift which has turned into a passion for not only sharing my experiences but educating others about food allergies as well. I look forward to continuing the journey.
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