It has been a whirlwind year for food allergy musician and educator Kyle Dine, as he produced his new DVD “Kyle Dine and Friends“, which launched in September, became a first-time father the following month (!) and headed off on a North American tour that started in mid-January and runs through March.
We caught up with Kyle during a tour stop, and asked him about growing up with food allergies himself in the 1980s and 1990s, and how this informed his music.
“I found the most difficult part of growing up with food allergies was the social side,” says Kyle. “Other than my best friends, I never felt many people ‘got’ my food allergies. I often felt like my allergies were an inconvenience to others and in turn, didn’t tell many people about them and took risks to fit in.”
During university, Kyle got a job working with kids with food allergies at a summer camp — and through this work, he realized the importance of “normalizing” food allergies, so that kids can feel comfortable talking about them and educating their peers. As a musician, writing songs about food allergies “was a very accessible way for me to reach kids,” he says. Since 2005, he has been doing just that, pressing several popular CDs available on iTunes and performing and presenting about food allergies at hundreds of schools across North America.
If you have ever seen Kyle Dine perform, you know the power of his presence: when he asks the kids in the audience to hold up their medical IDs, you can feel the sense of community and strength and see how his music helps achieve that “normalization” of life with food allergies. We asked Kyle what it means to him to see the impact of his work.
“I get stories of children wanting to wear their medical ID, and children keeping cool during allergic reactions because they remember a song telling them that they’ll be okay with epinephrine. Recently a school nurse was in touch with me telling me of a student who came to her office requesting epinephrine. He said he thought he was having an allergic reaction after remember the symptoms from my assembly. It turned out he was right, and the nurse helped save the boy.”
Kyle Dine and Friends was funded with Kickstarter, and quickly reached 150% of the original fundraising goal. After that, the team got to work. Kyle’s family was a big part of the team — including his parents, who have been active in allergy education since he was first diagnosed. Kyle’s wife sewed puppets, designed the DVD artwork, and provided countless hours of feedback and support. “She is never on camera, but truly one of the stars of this DVD,” says Kyle. “This year of touring and DVD production has left us apart for a long time. I’m thankful that she is just as passionate about the cause and supportive of what I do.”
Since the birth of their daughter in October, Kyle and his wife have been enjoying parenthood, including a road trip as part of his tour. “We are very appreciative of all of the warm thoughts and parenting advice from everyone in our community.”
For more information on Kyle’s tour and performances, visit www.kyledine.com.
To order Kyle Dine and Friends and have 20% of proceeds donated to Food Allergy Canada, use the link: www.foodallergyvideo.com/foodallergycanada.html. Food Allergy Canada is proud to have provided support for this important project through the Sabrina Shannon Legacy Fund.