We have once again enjoyed a busy weekend. Thanks to the wonderful organisational skills of the dedicated group of parents who set up FABED back in 2005 to support parents and families of children with EGID, we enjoyed an amazing weekend at Legoland Windsor.
What made this weekend so special was that it was organised with our EGID children in mind. A full day to meet other families who are carrying the same load as us and who know how it feels to be fighting a never-ending daily battle that most of our friends just can’t comprehend. An opportunity for M to meet children who are just like him, suffer from the same condition and have to live with multiple food-allergies to a greater or lesser extent. A chance for G to meet others whose siblings are constantly in hospital, or making hospital visits and who are often the focus of so much attention.
We met bright and early on Saturday morning and were delighted to see that there were in the region of 40 families there, all of whom had at least 1 child with EGID, though we got to know one family where all 4 children were affected to some degree. This was our first FABED event, but were instantly made to feel welcome and amongst friends. We recognised some familiar faces from the Allergy Show a couple of weeks ago and both M and G instantly made some new friends.
Unfortunately M suffered a bad day, but we had the advantage of being able to seek refuge in the suite at the amazing Legoland Hotel. There was a dedicated medical room to provide privacy for those who needed it for feeding or medical purposes. The Suite itself had tea and coffee-making facilities for the parents and a play area filled with Lego for the children to enjoy. We took an hour and a half out of the day to give M some much needed downtime and the children enjoyed attempting to build the biggest tower possible with some of their new friends.
The evening showed just how much hard work and thought had gone into making this an unparalleled get-together. A buffet dinner was provided for the FABED families, with full details of all ingredients used to prepare the dishes and options available to cater for even the most difficult of diets. Those children unable to eat were able to spend time in the play area, which was next door but out of sight of the food. M was delighted to be able to choose from such a wide selection of foods and we were reassured that we knew what each dish contained and what he could and couldn’t eat.
As soon as we heard about this day out, we knew we’d be going along. It would have taken something extreme to keep us away. M feels so alone in his allergy world that the opportunity to show that he really isn’t on his own and to allow him to chat and get to know other EGID sufferers was one that we couldn’t turn down. He made particular friends with young R, who is a year older, but feels the same emotions and frustrations as M. They were able to have an honest chat and M values this new friend who is “just like me Mummy, but he can eat even less, sometimes has to be tube fed and has accidents too.” R’s big sister, F, was a great source of comfort to G also as they share the same experiences of a younger brother with EGID as well as struggling with their own food allergies.
I also got to meet the delightful mumannie123, who writes the blog, Food for Thought: Boweled over by food allergies, recipes and advice. We have got to know each other a little over the last couple of weeks through our respective blogs, so it was wonderful to finally put a face to the name and spend some real time chatting. We have discovered that we live in the same part of the world, so I’m looking forward to perhaps being able to meet in person as time allows, as there is nothing quite like having a friend who understands what you’re going through from firsthand experience.
We made the decision to make a weekend of it and stayed the night at the Hotel in an Adventurers Room. The lego models and details in these rooms are astounding:
This weekend has been a truly fabulous weekend and my heartfelt thanks go out to FABED and Legoland Windsor for accommodating such a complex range of needs and ensuring that so many families were able to enjoy as normal a day out as possible when dealing with illness. To this family, at very least, it has made a huge difference and has given us a great resource for support for this journey that we now know we are not travelling on our own.