What is a parent mentor? Parent mentors are parents of children with food allergies, as well as community advocates who support our work and help us to reach others impacted by food allergies on a local level across Canada.
Our parent mentors are trained to deliver information in the community on managing food allergy and anaphylaxis. They are currently leading our small group webinars to help parents/families with children recently diagnosed with food allergy to understand the facts around food allergy and how to manage daily life. Sign-up for a webinar now!
Meet our parent mentors below, they have written a small note to introduce themselves.
Elaine Wardley – I’m Elaine and I live in Vancouver. I have two pre-teens with allergies to multiple foods, including peanut, tree nut, egg, sesame, kiwi, and some forms of legumes. I struggled to find good information and support when my daughter was first diagnosed in 2007. In 2009, I was grateful for the opportunity to get involved as a co-coordinator with the local support group, Metro Vancouver Anaphylaxis Group (a Food Allergy Canada support group). I loved the idea of meeting other families in the same boat as mine, to share information, and to provide a safe space to discuss concerns around this condition that affects so much of our daily lives.
Sarah MacKinnon – My name is Sarah and I have two kids: one is allergic to tree nuts and the other to peanuts. It wasn’t until my second child was diagnosed, two years after my first, that I stumbled upon reliable information to help me feel confident managing food allergies and anaphylaxis. That connection to the Metro Vancouver Anaphylaxis Group (and Food Allergy Canada) in 2014 was a lifesaver. I was happy to become a co-coordinator of the support group in 2017. I am excited to be a parent mentor and hopefully help to bridge the gap a lot sooner for other families.
Stephanie Von Dehn – My name is Stephanie von Dehn and I am the mom of two daughters (10 and 8). My eldest has multiple food allergies (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard and FPIES to salmon) as well as asthma, eczema and environmental/pet allergies. I also have a husband with Celiac disease so I have ample experience in allergen-free cooking and baking. I muddled through the first few years trying to manage our ever increasing collection of food allergies before I connected with Food Allergy Canada and my local support group (Metro Vancouver Anaphylaxis Group) and found much needed support and resources. I am now a co-coordinator of the support group and enjoy helping other parents navigate the sometimes overwhelming journey of managing their child’s food allergies.
Shannon Quennell – I’m Shannon, a registered nurse educator with a lovely daughter with two food allergies that we are aware of so far. I’m interested in being a resource and supporting parents of children who have been newly diagnosed with food allergies to help them to live confidently with food allergies.
Jen Weber – I’m Jen from Winnipeg. I have four children, two of them have food allergies. My oldest (10) has an allergy to tree nuts and peanuts, my second (8) is allergic to multiple foods including tree nuts, peanuts, egg, milk, soy, some fin fish, shellfish and some legumes. When he was first diagnosed at 7 months with his initial 5 allergies I was stumped, alone, and confused. It was such a challenging time with a steep learning curve. I am honoured to meet families at the start of their journey and hope to help ease the often bumpy entry into this new way of life.
Carla Da Silva – I’m Carla and I live in Montreal. I am the proud mom of 2. My oldest has 6 food allergies – wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish – which led us to our quest of learning to live without limitations despite dietary restrictions. This journey led me to take over the Montreal Anaphylaxis Support Group in 2013 which allows me to connect virtually with other families facing the same ups and downs of life with food allergies.
Check out our webinars geared for parents with children who have been recently diagnosed with food allergies. It’s also a great session for others interested in this topic, or would like a refresher.