Scoring for Food-Allergic Kids
The red, black and white bright lights flashed, the music thumped and the crowd bellowed with cheers. In the seconds before the opening faceoff, Joseph finally experienced the thrill of being at a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game. He held onto that excitement throughout the game, and when he returned home, he basked in the glow of his home team's victory.
My 7-year-old son Joseph was able to safely attend his first NHL game, thanks to the generosity of Hurricanes all-star Eric Staal and his wife Tanya. They created Eric's Entourage to provide a luxury suite during each home game for nonprofit organizations that serve children. In addition, another wonderful local family made sure the suite was free of allergens and that Joseph even had his own snack bag with food free of peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy.
The generosity we felt that night was touching and special on so many levels. The suite allowed Joseph to experience a pro hockey game without worrying about a fan eating peanuts next to him or someone spilling ice cream behind him. And my husband Gary, who is a huge sports fan, was able to share special time with his son cheering for our team, something most fathers take for granted. Gary and Joseph are best buddies, competing against each other on the basketball court, golf course and game room floor (also known as our hockey zone), plus any variety of Wii games. They also enjoy cheering on the Hurricanes from our couch.
But nothing compares to experiencing a game live. Joseph was so proud to wear his Staal-autographed shirt while he sat with his Dad and talked about each play, cheered for their favorite player (Staal) after each of his two goals that night, laughed at mascot Stormy's antics and munched on safe chips.
I’m so thankful for the kindness and generosity of the people who made this sporting event possible for my food-allergic son. They provided an unforgettable experience for my family.
Have you ever felt this way?