Food Freedom for Zman

Campaign Created by: Tiffanie Cartan

The funds from this campaign will be received by Tiffanie Cartan.

Goal: USD $40,000
Raised: USD $ 1,791

Dear Friends & Family,

Most of you know our story and the experience our son, Zander has gone through with his struggles with food allergies, Asthma and Eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE). We come to you today with excitement and hope for a new future for Zander that could change his life!

When Zander was 2 months old, we knew something was not right. He was covered from head to toe in a rash which later we found out as it progressively got worse was eczema. He would scratch himself until he would bleed and did not sleep at night. After endless doctors’ visits and tests, we found out he had 14 food allergies, most of which are anaphylactic (life-threatening). As new parents, hearing this was difficult, scary and stressful. We tried to find our new “normal,” which entailed steroid treatments, “wet wraps” for his skin, elimination diet for Mom and Zander, and carrying an epi-pen. Just when we were in a routine and his eczema was under control, his throat began to bother him to the point that he was not eating and at the cusp of “failure to thrive.” We were introduced to a GI doctor at this point, and after two endoscopies, we found out he also has a disease called Eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE), which inflames his esophagus when eating certain foods. Little did we know, this was going to be a long journey for Zander, not only in his recovery of his severe eczema, but also retraining our entire family HOW TO EAT, WHAT TO EAT, and how to save his life if he should have an accidental food allergy reaction and/or Asthma flare-up. We were stressed and terrified as new parents.

Fast Forward to now. Zander is 10 years old. We seem to have a pretty good handle on how to manage his allergies. A few hospital visits and scares here and there, such as being on a hike and having a yogurt snack accidentally spilled on Zander’s arm and watching his arm become covered in hives while at the top of a mountain. Reminders are daily for a food allergy family. There is continuous label reading, modifying every meal made, bringing your own food to events, and for some of us, not being able to go to 99 % of restaurants. Reflecting on the last few years, we feel he is “surviving” not “thriving” when it comes to growing strong and healthy.

When I ask Zander to explain the life of a food allergy kid, he will tell you the parts that are hardest are the family gatherings, birthday parties, holidays that are all centered around food. He has learned to be resilient in these times, but there are moments when he is still just a kid who wants to experience the same things his friends and family experience.

There was a recent moment that stands out, which inspired us to look deeper into finding options or a new direction for Zander. He got into the car after school one day, and as soon as the door shut, he broke down into tears. He managed to say “I tried to stay strong mom, but it just made me so sad. Today the entire school got a special treat at lunch, and it looked so good and I really wish that I could know what it tastes like. Why did God give me food allergies?” (Our heart aches for him in these moments)

When we did some more research, nothing seemed fitting for Zander with all the allergies he has. It wasn’t until his 10th Birthday party we had at his favorite restaurant, Intentional Foods (one of the two safe sit-down restaurants he can go to). The owner of the restaurant shared with us that their daughter, who also has life-threatening food allergies, was in a treatment program that is putting her allergies into remission. We did not waste time and started to find out more about this program located in Southern California. It was true! Their program is world-renowned, and helping children put their allergies in remission!

We discussed the possibilities with Zander, and he was ecstatic imagining life without food allergies! He was on board and wanting us to find out when we could get started.

We had our first consultation over the phone with their launch team. We learned that people come from all over the world for this treatment. It is not fully covered by insurance and could cost us approx. $40,000-$50,000 to complete with travel costs. It can last anywhere from 2-4 years or longer. It will be an intense few years. However, in the end, Zander will be close to graduating high school and starting a life where accidental exposure to his allergens will not be a life-threatening issue. He will even be able to eat his allergens in large quantities should he decide he likes them. We will head to California every 8-10 weeks for our treatment and will be in a strict daily regimen. We are ready to take this on and put up a fight against these allergies that have restricted Zander and our family for so long, and have caused so much fear, anxiety, and worry. The thought of sending our son to college or even out on his first date without the fear of allergies is a world we couldn’t even imagine.

With our humbling hearts, we come to you today to share that we are going to need help to pull this off, but we do believe that with our incredible village and God on our side, anything is possible! If you are in a position and able to help us financially or spiritually (we need our prayer warriors out there too), we would be so grateful. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as we start the process to get through this next chapter. Please follow us through our journey as we begin this fight for food allergy freedom for Zander!


UPDATES

🍀🍀LUCKY CHARMS🍀🍀
February 18, 2024
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Introducing…Lucky Charm Chains!!

This week only $23 donation towards Zander’s Campaign will get you his “Lucky Charms” keychain and 3 starter charms!

It is Zander’s Birthday 🎂 this week on the 23rd, so all this week you can get your Keychain!  Your donation will help us tremendously with the costs that our insurance does not cover.  We will be traveling every 10 weeks for the next 4-5 years for his appointments, and these expenses certainly add up fast!

🍀What is the Lucky Charm Keychain?

Cleverly named by Zander, this is our way to say thanks and also to help as a reminder to everyone when they see their keychain and charms to pray 🙏🏻 and remember not only Zander, but other people out there who are challenged with food allergies.

Zander is currently working towards “Food Freedom,” which is ultimately remission from his 17+ anaphylactic foods he has avoided since he was 2 months old!

Each food challenge he passes, we will introduce a new charm to add to your keychain!  (No worries if you are out of state…we will ship your keychain and charms to you at no extra cost).

!!Please share our campaign!!

Please spread the word…share Zander’s story and our campaign with family, friends, your plumber, your hairdresser, your neighbors!  By doing this, you not only help Zander, but it also spreads awareness and helps other “allergy families” connect and learn more about this new program to put food allergies into remission!

⛈️Weathering the Storm (literally)
February 6, 2024
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We made to our appointment through a flight delay and the big storm in California!

It’s Official…Z got his dosing gummies today!

“Dosing”means he takes the food every day for next 10 weeks, until we return to the clinic, training his body to be tolerant for his next food challenge of the actual food.  He also has his daily Maintenance Foods to eat. “Maintenance” are foods he has already challenged and passed in the clinic and has to continue to keep in his daily diet to continue training his body to know that these foods are “safe.”

After today’s food challenge appointment he is now…

Dosing: Chia seed(in a gummy) & Camel’s Milk

Maintenance: Millet, Coconut, Quinoa 

👉🏻Also in his daily diet he HAS to eat an apple, a pear, a stone fruit, and mustard seed. He also does SLIT (treatment for environmental allergies) daily with his Xyzal and other vitamins. You should see his plate in the mornings!!! Breakfast is no longer “quick”

Mom’s lesson in denatured camel’s milk…

That’s right…Camel’s milk!!! I learned today how I need to prepare camels milk for Z’s dosing.  We came home with powdered camels milk ($$) that I will prep with boiling water and a whole step-by-step process.  I got stopped of course by TSA on flight home!!! I guess powdered Camel’s milk in your bag might look a little suspicious. 🤣


Zman’s TIP Trip Highlights…

(In his words..)

🌧️ Rain storm in Long Beach, and running to our 🚕 cab in the rain ☔️ 

🐪 Trying Camel’s milk “Tastes like grass and is gross”

💚Tried first dosing gummy (chia) and got to take home all of the dosing gummies for next 10 weeks

😊”Quinoa was good”

💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟💟

Thank you all for your continued prayers 🙏🏻 

and supporting Zman’s journey by spreading the word to your family and friends. Through this site we have referred a new family to the TIP program, so keep sharing this campaign with others! We want nothing more than for other kids like Z to have this experience and opportunity to put their allergies in remission!!


💟If you select “follow” on this campaign, whenever I update after every appointment, you can follow along and see what he is challenging and adding to his diet.


Ready, Set, LAUNCH!!! 🚀
January 6, 2024
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Launch Appointment was a two day visit.  Launch Day 1: They placed a patch with 52 antigens on his back that stays on for 24 hours.  He then did a Pulmonary Test to check his lungs and breathing.  

Launch Day 2: Z did so great today! He got his patch taken off first and then he had his first food challenge: millet 🌾 They mixed it with dairy-feee chocolate. Next it was time for exercise. They take vitals after this and moved onto his next food: coconut. He loved the taste of coconut 🥥. Again, back to exercising for several minutes, followed by vitals check. Congratulations Z on passing your first two challenges! Now he has to eat coconut and millet every day until our next visit. Mom will need to get creative so he doesn’t get sick of his maintenance foods.

First visit down…24 to go (54 months)!!

Z’s doctor is very good with him. She helps calm his nerves.

We brought Nana along, which was so nice to have her there for support and encouragement!  💜

Z’s highlights:

🐳Aquarium of the Pacific

🚕 Interesting Taxi rides

🐦 Noble Bird Restaurant- trying Brussels sprouts for first time and LOVED them!

🍔 In and Out Burger

🏨 The Cove Hotel

✈️ Getting used to flying-writes a prayer before every flight to try to calm his nerves

🍽️ Passing his food challenges!


Onboarding Appointment
October 26, 2023
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And so it begins…

It was a full day…flying from PHX to Long Beach, CA for Z’s first in-person appointment and then heading back home the same day!

We finally made it! It was a very long, emotional and exhausting day, but so much to be thankful for!  Zander had scratch test (5 panels, 49 foods) on his back…it was uncomfortable for him.  Seafood and beans had surprisingly the low numbers, which is good. However, we have to wait to compare to his bloodwork and patch testing results.  His other foods we knew he already has allergies to (dairy, seeds, nuts, wheat, etc.) still showed a reaction to (large hives). Again, we will have to wait on the full report.

Zander ended his appointment with his blood draw, which he was dreading.  He said the nurse who drew his blood “She was the best I have ever had draw my blood.  She is good at her job.”

When asked what his favorite part of the day was, he said “Walking to In and Out for lunch!”  Haha!

Our flights, cab rides and finding our way around Long Beach was a positive experience and a first of many to come.

Zander wants to thank you all for your prayers and encouragement!

WHAT’S NEXT?

The “Launch Visit” is scheduled for first week of January.  During this 2 day appointment visit, Zander will have patch testing done, pulmonary function testing and his first food challenge.  We will leave this visit with his dosing (medication).  The dosing is in the form of gummies he will take every day.

Please share Zman’s campaign with your family and friends! We are just beginning our journey and need your help.  Lots of prayers needed! Copy link and share. Also, please follow and share his Instagram account, @foodfree4z for updates.


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