Look out world, here comes Alexis!
Alexis is on the cover of Best Ever You's July 2013 Magazine featuring food allergies. Every once in a while we come across amazing situations and amazing people. It is these times that I cherish because I know I will only learn and grow from them. This is one such story of a very inspiring little girl. Alexis Fellows is, in my eyes, a perfectly wonderful role model. No, she isn’t a scholar, scientist or superstar athlete…not yet anyway! She is a 10 year old girl living life to the fullest, despite her life threatening food allergies. According to a recent CNN article, a new study in the journal Pediatrics reaffirms this “growing problem of food allergies among young people. Researchers found that 8% of children under 18 in the United States have at least one food allergy. In the past, estimates had ranged from 2% up to 8%, adding to the growing body of evidence that increasingly more children have food allergies. Even more striking, among those with food allergies, about 39% had a history of a severe reaction, and 30% were allergic to multiple foods. The most common food allergen was peanuts, followed by milk and shellfish”. If Alexis were to ingest an allergen (in her case, dairy, egg, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, cherries or mustard) she could die within 20 minutes if not given the proper medication. Since her birth, Alexis and her younger brother Ryan could only eat certain foods. This led her parents on a life changing mission to not only make sure all foods would be safe, but to make sure they have full, happy and wonderful lives. Thus began the work Because of their efforts, local kids and other parents have learned a deeper understanding and collectively support efforts in awareness and understanding allowing them to have a “normal” life. As Michele, Alexis’s mother stresses, “Dealing with food allergies can be very difficult, and although it is a hidden disability which can be fatal, children appear perfectly healthy (which confuses many adults) and like any child with a disability, it is extremely important for them to feel as normal as possible.” Alexis isn’t letting her food allergies get in the way of living the best life she can! She attends public school in safety. She isn’t bullied or teased; she inspires her friends and those around her. She is even a cheerleader! She is living her life happily and positively! Her parents are extremely proud of her. They further the understanding of food allergies by providing a valuable (and yummy!) resource in the community… Sweet Alexis Bakery. As a result of having to change their eating habits and finding safe, yet tasty alternatives for their kids, Michele started Sweet Alexis, not only to provide delicious dairy-free, egg-free, tree-nut and peanut-safe products, but also to serve as a resource to the world as large. Her whole story can be found at www.sweetalexis.com, where not only can you order her goods online, but also access stories and resources that families can turn to for support, encouragement and knowledge. I came across Alexis at the same school my two girls attend. This is how I came to know of Alexis, her mom (and now my wonderful friend; Michele), as well as her fabulous bakery, Sweet Alexis. I hope you learned a little something and continue to do so. Inspiration comes in many forms…Alexis is definitely an inspiration! Alexis is a member of MedicAlert Foundation. -Rani Shah - writer and local mama, sharing my peace!