Sarah’s story: how son’s food intolerances inspired the creation of Allergy Buddies

Today’s allergy mumpreneur sharing her story is Sarah, mum to 2-year-old Riley, who is dairy and egg intolerant. Sarah founded Allergy Buddies after another parent gave Riley milk chocolate at a party, not realising it would make him ill. Allergy Buddies sells clothing, stickers, badges, keyrings, jewellery and more, all illustrated with the different “Buddies” and with the aim of alerting people to your child’s allergies/intolerances.

Hi Sarah. Thanks for talking to me about your son’s food intolerances and Allergy Buddies. Let’s start with Riley. How did you discover he was intolerant to egg and milk? What were his symptoms and were his food intolerances difficult to diagnose at first?

Hi and thank you for having me. Riley started with a simple cold that lasted forever. Then we had the most awful sickness and diarrhoea for pretty much 6 weeks. He would eat and be sick within 20 minutes. Every night he would wake about 1 and scream in pain from his tummy until he managed to go to the toilet. Most nights it was 3 hours of tears from all of us! After lots of visits to the doctors and being told it was a ‘virus’ something suddenly just clicked and I thought all he wants to eat is porridge or yoghurt (his throat was also swollen). So Lactose free we went and in 24 hours the difference was unbelievable. Then 4 weeks later another ‘cold’ and we started all over again. No messing that time and onto a soya diet he went.

Some readers will be dealing with egg and milk allergies or intolerances, alongside nut allergies. Do you have any favourite “free from” egg and milk brands or products?

We pretty much try anything that is ‘free from’ that I think might appeal. But the best finds are by far the unexpected. Like chocolate bourbon biscuits (cheap ones)!!! I’d never looked at them until someone in my support group mentioned it!  Also we have found that Hovis Best of Both bread is a godsend as 1 slice has as much calcium in as a soya yoghurt!

Tell us what happened at the Christmas party, which inspired you to found Allergy Buddies.

allergy_2It was a pretty honest and simple mistake but still terrible for us. I knew there would be things to avoid but I was determined not to let Riley miss out. I had heard them say they were doing hunt the chocolate but knew they were in wrappers and so I let him collect a couple putting in his bag for later (that I would swap when we got home). We were doing so well and he was so good about it as he always is. The game was over so I let him go play again. 5 minutes later he came up to me eating chocolate. I was horrified. It was our first trip out where there was food and our 1st good week in nearly 4. So bundled him in the car and managed to get him home before the sickness started again. It was that night when I was comforting him I realised it wasn’t us we had to worry about it was others. So I started to look for something he could wear and I realised there was room for a new brand. And the rest they say is history.

I read that your products can be tailored to particular allergies and intolerances. So would it be possible, for example, to have a keyring made saying “EpiPen and Inhaler in my bag” or “No nuts, egg or dairy”?

Yes we can customise to pretty much whatever you want. If we have the buddies created they can be put together in any combination to meet the needs of our customers. We also can do text only products where a buddy might not be suitable.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Sarah!

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Further resources – food intolerance

If you would like to know more about food intolerance (and how this differs from a food allergy), please see:

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