Going Gluten-FreeNovember 30, 2010

Scoring for Food-Allergic Kids

Comments (2)

Posted by Wendy Mondello

Joseph and his dad enjoy the Carolina
Hurricanes game.

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?


Comments (2)

My son is 10 and plays travel hockey. His teammates and coaches are very understanding of his dietary needs and allergies. Playing hockey has been the thing that has made him feel like a normal kid. It is his sanctuary. See all hockey players aren't fighters and thugs they have big hearts. Kudos to the Hurricanes and the Staals for setting up this wonderful night.

Posted by: Ellen S | December 3, 2010 5:05 PM    Report this comment

What a beautiful story. Now that's compassion, caring and kindness! Love it.

Posted by: Michele M | December 2, 2010 10:32 AM    Report this comment

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