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Summer camp opens for kids with deadly food allergies

PHOENIX — When school lets out, many kids spend time going to summer
camps, making new friends and having fun. However, for kids with deadly
food allergies, simple camp activities such as making a bird feeder must be
avoided.

“They might use peanut butter on pine cones to make their bird feeders.
Kids who have a life-threatening peanut allergy wouldn’t be able to do
that,” said Lisa Horne, director of the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance.

Horne and her group are starting an allergy-free summer camp
Monday and June 25. So far, over 30 kids are signed up for
each session. Campers will participate in everything kids from other
camps do, including making bird feeders, running three-legged races and sing-a-longs.

“All of our songs are about, ‘I carry my EpiPen everywhere I go,’ and ‘I wash
my hands and don’t share food,’ ” said Horne.

The counselors working at the camp will be teens who have lived with a
deadly food allergy. Horne hopes the experience will help campers feel like
they can live a normal life even with a debilitating allergy, and hopes the
counselors have plenty of wisdom to impart.

Both camps are half-day, but Horne said next year that could
change.

The first camp starts today and runs through Wednesday at Mountain
View Lutheran Church in southeast Phoenix. The second camp starts next Monday at Pinetop Lakes Recreation Center at Pinetop Lake and Country Club
Area.