Lianne Mandelbaum, Care2 member and author of a petition asking airlines to institute a bill of rights for people with food allergies, was honored with an award from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) on April 30. The Leadership Award was in recognition of Lianne’s ongoing commitment to make air travel safer for people with food allergies. FARE is an organization that works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. Shockingly, food allergies affect one in every 13 children in the U.S., and FARE is working to keep people with food allergies safe and included, and to ultimately find a cure.
Lianne’s youngest son was diagnosed with a life-threatening peanut allergy when he was 2-years-old. When waiting for an airplane last fall, a nearby family was eating peanuts and Lianne let them know of her son’s allergy. They then proceeded to throw the nuts up in the air and crush them on the floor, laughing in response. And when they boarded the plane, Lianne asked the flight attendants to make an announcement that there was someone on board with a life-threatening allergy. She was met with no consideration, and even a rude response by one attendant who told her that if her son is going to die from something like that, he should just not get on the plane. The family decided not to risk it and skipped the flight.
From then on Lianne made it her mission to remedy the fact that airlines have no protocols for protecting people with food allergies. She created her petition on Care2, and founded the website No Nut Traveler, a resource for people who have allergies and stories from others. Her efforts have gotten her stories in the New York Times blogs, Allergic Living, Conde Nast Traveler and many others. As a result of her work, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and JetBlue airlines have contacted Lianne to set up meetings to discuss the issue.
In an email with Care2, Lianne wrote, “I was so honored to receive this award…. As of today FARE has formed a task force that I will be a member of, in order to lobby for allergic passenger rights. I truly feel I can make a difference in the lives of adults and children with food allergies. I have shared the comments made on my petition with both airlines and legislators.”
Lianne’s speech at the awards ceremony is inspiring and eye-opening. Congratulations to this extraordinary Care2 member!
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Photo: Screenshot from YouTube.