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Driving awareness in the workplace

May 15, 2020

Katya Kondratenkois a food allergy mom from Vancouver, BC. She has two daughters, one of which is allergic to tree nuts. Wanting to spread food allergy awareness and raise funds for Food Allergy Canada, Katya reached out to us and submitted an entry to her workplace’s Canadian charity contest.

We spoke with Katya (prior to COVID-19) to find out more about the company’s contest and why she chose Food Allergy Canada as her charity of choice. Check out the interview below!

What is your food allergy story? How are you impacted by food allergy, do you or your children have food allergy?

My name is Katya Kondratenko. I live in Vancouver with my family and we have two girls, Sasha who is 15 years old, and Paulina who is 5 years old. When Paulina was 3 years old, she ate a piece of chocolate that she was given and immediately had an allergic reaction. After being treated in the Emergency Department, we learned she was allergic to tree nuts. Nobody else in the family has a food allergy, but I am severely allergic to cats.

What was your workplace’s contest and what did it entail? What inspired you to participate? 

This past February, the company I work for held their second annual contest where the 1500+ employees could submit a picture describing their favourite Canadian charity along with a brief explanation of the charity’s mission. The contest winners were selected through a vote, and each contest winner was awarded with a cheque ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 to present to their favourite charity.

I decided to participate in this contest because I believe that educating people about food allergy is very, very important. Many people have the perception that allergy just means sneezing and having an itchy nose, and they don’t realize the seriousness of food allergy and allergic reactions. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t win the contest this year and will try again next year if the company decides to have the contest again.

Tell us about your contest entry. Why did you decide to choose Food Allergy Canada as your charity of choice?

Katya's contest entry photo

Food allergy is relatively new to our family. When my daughter was first diagnosed, my friend (who also happens to be a food allergy mom) recommended Food Allergy Canada’s website as a good resource for reliable and helpful information.

It was a very difficult and stressful time for us and Food Allergy Canada became my go-to place for answers to many questions. So, it was a natural choice for me when my workplace announced the contest. 

Once I chose Food Allergy Canada as my favourite charity, I thought about posting a picture of my daughter in a super-hero costume. I got in touch with Food Allergy Canada and with their help, support and very quick turnaround time, we came up with the final photo that I submitted.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am very thankful to all those who are actively involved in the food allergy community!

Although Katya didn’t win, we are thankful for her effort and helping to raise food allergy awareness in her workplace. Thank you, Katya!

Do you want to raise awareness and host a fundraiser in your workplace? Learn how to organize an online fundraiser or donate to Food Allergy Canada today.

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