My family has two Thanksgiving dinners – one with friends and one with family. Both are potluck style, and everyone knows to keep tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish out of the dishes. I have a life-threatening food allergy to all three. Then a few years ago, Harry and David crashed Thanksgiving with a cranberry sauce that sent me to the hospital – and I should note that Harry and David were not invited to the feast.
It was an understandable oversight. My aunt received a Thanksgiving basket from the gourmet food shop Harry & David, and whoever served the sauce failed to read the label - the sauce contained walnuts. My reaction was mild, as I had only eaten a small amount. I still ended up spending the better half of my Thanksgiving in the ER.
As the holiday season nears, anxiety levels for those with food allergies intensify. The sprinkled Christmas cookie that brings most kids joy instead triggers fear and panic in many children with a food allergy. Today, 1 out of every 13 kids has a food allergy, and a food allergy sends someone to the ER every three minutes. This is a statistic we are trying to change.
These past months we've made considerable strides. First, we’ve added two new members to the team: Jason Stanwick and Micah Maetani. Mr. Stanwick is currently pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School and is a licensed professional engineer with a Master’s degree in medical device design. Mr. Stanwick also has work experience in academic R&D and the pharmaceutical sector. Mr. Maetani is a PhD Candidate in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Prior to graduate school, Micah received his B.S. in chemistry from Stanford University and performed research at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, and Genentech.
In other exciting news, MIT Sloan School of Business selected Allergy Amulet to participate in a student-industry collaboration with four MBA students. This group is helping us carry out additional market research and further define our market strategy. We’ve also received additional press, with features in the Yale Entrepreneur Magazine and the Heights. We were also invited to showcase at the Harvard Innovation Lounge and selected as a 2015 Connecticut Tech Company to Watch!
More updates to come soon. Happy and safe holidays!
- Abi and the Allergy Amulet Team