This week I will be looking at the people behind the products and services that won the 2012 Food Allergies Reader's Choice Awards. One of the best things about running the Reader's Choice is the small business owners whom I have met through the process. They are all dedicated to serving the food allergy community, and creating new products to make living with and managing food allergies easier.
Lauren's Hope is the winner of the Best Medical ID Jewelry of 2012. The first Lauren's Hope medical ID bracelet was created by Denise Gaskill and LeAnn Carlson in 2001 on a quest to create a stylish medical ID. Their first bracelet was made for a 13 year old "fashionista" who needed it because of her diabetes, but who did not want to wear a basic stainless steel ID because it didn't fit her style.
LeAnn Carlson is proud that Lauren's Hope is the company that originated the interchangeable medical ID bracelet, which allows users to change their look while keeping their medical ID tag on their wrist. Lauren's Hope now offers a wide range of medical ID bracelets, necklaces, and tags that appeal to all ages and styles.
"Our goal is to provide those with food allergies a piece of jewelry that can be worn every day that is comfortable, attractive and functional," says LeAnn Carlson. "If you have a severe food allergy you need to know that those around you are informed about how to help if you are exposed to an allergen and are unable to communicate."
Many customers list their allergy triggers on their tags, as well as emergency contact information. An example might be:Mary Smith, Allergic to Shellfish
Benadryl / Epi Pen / 911
LeAnn has two children with food allergies, one of whom carries an epinephrine auto-injector. "As a mom," she says, "It's scary to know that your child is walking around in the world with a condition that can lead to anaphylaxis if exposed to the wrong food. Knowing that she wears her medical ID gives me some peace... Information is power and I want the public to be educated on how to help someone having an allergic reaction."
Her advice to those newly diagnosed with food allergies is: "Don't panic. Although it's a new experience you will become informed, gain control and learn to manage it." She suggests seeking out support groups at your local hospital or online, where you can learn more about living with food allergies and find support from others who are managing the same condition.
Owner LeAnn Carlson invites readers to visit her site at www.laurenshope.com and take a look around. As a special thank you to About.com readers, and to celebrate winning the 2012 Reader's Choice Award for Best Medical ID Jewelry, Lauren's Hope is offering a 10% discount on their products by using the coupon code ABOUT upon checkout.
"Thank you to everyone who voted for us!" says LeAnn, "We've always known that we have the best customers who support us... We're so proud to have won this contest!"