BANKS, OR (KPTV) –
Ten-year-old Dylan Podrabsky is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy and milk, and that’s not all, the list goes on. And he’s not alone in suffering from severe food allergies.
The CDC says food allergies among children are rapidly increasing, roughly 50 percent over the last 15 years.
Dylan tells FOX 12 he breaks out in hives if someone cracks a nut in his presence or spills milk on him. If he should accidentally drink a glass of milk , he says, “the hives would go in my throat and they would get so big that they would start suffocating me.”
He could go into shock and he always carries a device with him so he can inject himself with life-saving medicine.
Because of these severe allergies, Dylan’s mom, Tracy, has always made all his food. He has never eaten at a restaurant. And, until last summer, he never spent a single night away from home. Then he discovered Camp Blue Spruce.
The one-week overnight camp in Banks is made especially for kids with these severe allergies.
Before the kids even get to the Camp Blue Spruce, Chef Brook Ahnemann scrubs it clean of all allergens. You won’t find a speck of flour dust anywhere. She also brings in all her own equipment. She makes most of the campers’ food from scratch. Otherwise, she thoroughly checks ingredients in any canned or packaged food.
Ahnemann told FOX 12 she actually calls the food manufacturers to make sure those foods don’t contain any of the top 10 allergens.
Louise Tippens started Camp Blue Spruce because her own son suffers from severe allergies.
“There’s a lot of anxiety about raising a kid with food allergies,” she said. “You’re nervous all the time. This is a week for everybody to be carefree.”
For the first time in their young lives, the campers can go through a cafeteria line and safely pick everything they want.
They can also participate in a right of childhood, the food fight. Food fights are usually frightening for these kids, if something they’re allergic to lands on or near them. But all the food at Camp Blue Spruce is safe and made specially for them, so they can go ahead and throw those leftovers at each other. It can’t hurt them.
More info: www.campbluespruce.org
Fox12 News, By Marilyn Deutsch