Season's Greetings! I sincerely hope you and your families are safe and healthy.
During every holiday season, Yours Truly must focus on thinking and feeling humble and grateful. I believe that's particularly true this year; at such a challenging time for Americans everywhere, our organization has made pretty good progress in 2023. And when optimism is available only in limited quantities (supply chain issues?) and so many difficult problems are looming on the horizon, I'm actually feeling cautiously optimistic. Call me a cockeyed optimist if you want, but I swear it's true.
With that in mind, here is my holiday gratitude list for 2023:
First of all, I'm thankful to everyone who helped our organization create our new branding. We are now Allergy Advocates New York! We have a new name; new look and a sharper focus on our shared vision and goals.
These changes are intended to:
- Better provide up-to-date information about life-threatening allergens and anaphylaxis emergencies,
- Increase our network of activist advocates in New York State working with us on legislation,
- Expand our Epi Near You NY anaphylaxis emergency training program by reaching more individuals and entities, and
- Improve access to life-saving epinephrine for individuals and families at risk for anaphylaxis emergencies.
Toni Taylor, Co-Founder and Executive Director created and launched our new brand with the best work of our full team.
Thank you to the physicians, nurses and allergists who have volunteered their valuable time to participate in our Epi Near You New York seminars. Their medical expertise has been essential to providing anaphylaxis emergency training here in western New York. Our New York State approved training program continues evolving, improving and growing. Through regularly scheduled presentations and seminars for face-to-face and virtual audiences, our public outreach efforts now train more people than ever before. A shout-out to Melissa Mueller-Douglas, our Program Manager, is certainly in order!
A shout out in support of full emergency epinephrine training and stocking for all first responders. AKA, Gio's Law. With much gratitude to Georgina Cornago for her tireless work, it is signed into law and we're pushing hard for implementation.
After more than a decade of dedicated work by so many activist advocates in New York, the 'Teacher Training' act now requires public to provide more information to their teachers that can help keep the 200,000 food allergic children in New York State safer in an anaphylaxis emergency. The required information includes when and how to administer epinephrine to keep their students safe. Activist advocate Stacey Saiontz and her son Jared worked with New York State legislators to finally get this legislation passed. Thanks to the Saiontz's and everyone else who worked on this legislation!
I am very thankful to members of the New York State legislature for all the support and encouragement they have provided to our organization and myself. One Assembly Member who deserves special thanks is Linda Rosenthal. For years AM Rosenthal has proven herself to be fully involved with issues our association sees as vital to protecting and supporting individuals and families with life-threatening allergies. Her patient and persistent leadership has been vital to enactment of so many laws helping us achieve a safer, allergy-aware state of New York.
Our annual Action Awards event was absolutely FABULOUS! We hosted our party in the "Casablanca" themed room at the Artisan Works event and entertainment gallery.
We proudly honored former Assembly Member, the Honorable Thomas J. Abinanti with the Ruthie T. Cornell award. Mr. Abinanti sponsored important legislation providing authorization for our state-approved Epi Near You New York anaphylaxis emergency training program.
Anitha Shrikhande MD was honored with the John J. Condemi award. Dr. Shrikhande was responsible for setting up our epinephrine prescription template for trained entities wishing to stock non-patient prescription epinephrine.
Brenda Tremblay, the number one DJ at WXXI FM presided as EMCEE; magician extraordinaire. Ted Baumhauer provided us with great entertainment and lots of laughs; Afro-Futurist-Jazz singer Zahyia sang standards from the 1940's and '50's plus leading our audience in singing "La Marseillaise." (Vive-la-France!)
And thank you to everyone who donated to our association’s Action Awards event! Your financial support is so very, very important to our program of action!
Finally, I am so very grateful to Toni Taylor, co-founder and executive director of our organization and our production staff members, including Melissa Mueller-Douglas, Janet Rabjohn, Sujatha Victor, and Ron Painter. Many thanks for making our advocacy possible!
Have a safe and happy holiday season! Best wishes for a great New Year!
Jon Terry, co-founder
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