Julianne Meets….the woman behind the Teal App in the UK Caron Pollard

Mother Caron talks about the challenges parents face when they have children with serious allergies.
Caron and her daughter Aoife who has severe allergies and anaphylaxis.

Two weeks ago The Teal App launched in the UK, which is for those living with life-threatening allergies and their loved ones.  It can even save the life of an allergy sufferer who goes into anaphylactic shock.

I am very honoured to be the UK Ambassador for the app working close with the app owners and creators Caron Pollard and Joey DiGangi.

For several years now I’ve campaigned to raise awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis and being associated with this app resonates with my company’s purpose and with my own vision of speaking up for those who live with these conditions.

The Teal App’s back story: 

The Teal App is the brainchild of American businessman Joey DiGangi, who lives near State College, Pennsylvania and Caron Pollard of London, who founded The Coza Group.

The US version of the app, the EpiCenter App, was created by Joey’s company, AssureTech, LLC, along with equity partner Kdan Mobile Software, and has been live in the USA for six months. Its emergency functions are free, however those who download the app can, optionally, join a subscription community to access other information and deals around products and services which support those living with allergies.

The Teal App is the UK adaptation of AssureTech’s software that includes country-specific functions like the food diary and ladder challenges. The Teal App was made possible through the collaborative work between AssureTech and The Coza Group.

Question and Answer with Caron Pollard of The Coza, co-founder of The Teal App:

How is your life affected by allergies? 

Very personally. At four months old, our daughter, Aoife was hospitalised for failure to thrive. She’d struggled with feeding since birth and, looking back, was probably constantly in pain and feeling ill. When she was admitted to hospital for that reason I felt like a useless parent. I searched for answers but it was a hospital consultant who realised Aoife might have allergies. Testing revealed that was the case, she has multiple allergies and our already difficult journey became ever more challenging.

Was life easier once you had the diagnosis? 

Well it was better to know and be able to take some action – this is not an easy journey for any parent to take. We now know that Aoife has life-threatening allergies to dairy, eggs, nuts, fish and suffers from eczema. The first year of her life was a trauma for me, for her dad and for her too. I felt all at sea when I tried to educate myself about food allergies. Life was so difficult, an uphill battle every day to minimise the risks for her. We don’t always get it right.

Has Aoife ever gone into anaphylactic shock? 

Last year, Aoife was admitted to hospital in Spain for acute appendicitis and peritonitis. I gave her a juice drink (water melon) while she was in post surgery recovery, I was relieved she was through this latest trauma. To my horror, she went into anaphylactic shock almost immediately and prompt medical action had to be taken. Thank goodness we were in hospital. Unbeknown to me, the juice contained 10% skimmed milk. I crumbled after that experience. I had done that to her. It just reinforced how easy it is to make a mistake around someone with severe and complex allergies. 

How did that affect your day to day living? 

Aoife is now almost four years old and I will do anything to keep her safe. She is clever, bright, funny and with a zest for life. We’re so proud of her. However life can feel like we’re walking a tightrope and we are both conscious we have to teach her to start to managing her own condition too.

I found that other allergy-affected families in the UK are living with the same day to day struggle we are.  There is very little support from the food industry in my experience and it is left to parents and carers to carefully read the ingredients on packaging, which is sometimes extremely tiny, and on some occasions not available, or accurate.

I decided to search to see how I could make life easier for us, and families like our’s.

How did you contact Joey?

I found out about Joey’s app and reached out to him via Instagram. My idea was to bring a localised version of the EpiCenter App to the UKK; customised for UK families and individuals.  And this I just what we have done, with your support and Joey’s backing. I just feel very strongly that there’s a community here who need it for peace of mind and, if they wish, the ability to connect daily, weekly with others living with the same challenges.

Allergies are on the rise worldwide, particularly allergies to food. It’s unclear why that is the case – it’s been suggested it may be because we have become ‘too clean’ however no one knows for sure.

Here in the UK, we still have some way to go to support, empower and include those of us who live with allergies day in, day out.

The pressure is always on us, the sufferer rather than the restaurant owner, food outlet, or the food industry to ensure we are safe.

It is incredibly exhausting and sometimes isolating to have to continually consider my food, my environment and the behaviour of people around me, because if I an exposed to the wrong things, I can die!

The wonderful thing about this app is, it is designed to help anyone who might find themselves alone at the worst of times, both abroad and at home.

Our products are on The Teal App with discounts for members.

The Teal App is now accessible via web browser and available for download on both the App Store and Google Play Store. For more information visit https://teal-app.com

 

 

 

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