Episode #43: Allie Kashkash
Allie Kashkash is an entrepreneur living in the suburbs of Tel Aviv with her husband and two young kids. Born and raised in NY, Allie moved to Israel over a decade ago and works today as the founder of Imallergia and as a content writer. When her older son Nadav was seven months old, Allie discovered that he suffered from a life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergy. Ever since, she has been on a mission to raise allergy awareness throughout Israel and in 2017 started the company Imallergia, selling cool allergy gear in Hebrew to help protect both Nadav and the thousands of other Israeli children suffering from food allergies.
Living in Israel, Allie Kashkash faces unique challenges when it comes to managing her son’s peanut and tree nut allergies. A product called Bamba is one of the country’s most popular snack foods, so allergens are present virtually everywhere. Plus, once Allie started looking for information about allergies, she encountered a lack of information written in Hebrew. It became clear that, while people in Israel do suffer from serious allergies, there was a need for greater awareness on the topic. On today’s episode, Allie and I talk about the difference between how Americans and Israelis view allergies, how she protects her son when everyone around him is eating Bamba, and the incredibly positive response she received to the allergy alert bracelets she created.
Here are some of the things Allie and I chatted about:
Discovering that her son was allergic to peanuts, and why she felt panicked in that moment
The allergic reaction that made everyone realize how serious her son’s allergies are
The process of making her home completely allergen-free, with only safe-to-eat foods
Making a conscious decision to not treat her son like a victim, and the impact that has had
How she navigates birthday parties and other situations where allergens may be present
The difficulty allergies can pose when discovered later in childhood, or when it impacts siblings
The big difference between allergies and sensitivities, and why the distinction is important
Why one day, once her son had gone to school, she forced herself to eat a huge bag of Bamba
Searching for information written in Hebrew about allergies, and how she came up empt
Buying a one-way ticket to Israel in 2007, when she was 22 and had just graduated colleg
Starting a blog about her experience as an allergy mom, and the real questions parents fac
The minimal awareness in Israel about medical alert jewelry, and how she’s tackling that
Her efforts, beyond creating bracelets, to make life better for kids in Israel with allergies
Why she kept a bag of Bamba in her mailbox and gave pieces to her daughter every day
The silver lining of allergies: how it can teach kids how to take care of one another
The need for education and awareness outside the allergy community, but also within it
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