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Mom teaching others to be a ‘PAL’

PEDRO — When their children are sick or hurting, most parents just want to make them better.

And for Jamie Murphy, a local mother from Pedro, that has become her mission.

Murphy’s daughter, 4-year-old Bailey Jo, suffers from food allergies to milk and peanuts. But Bailey’s milk allergy wasn’t diagnosed until she was 11 months old.

“She suffered, I feel like, during that time, with belly aches, throwing up, with a rash that was just horrible,” Murphy recalled.

Murphy happened to meet the mother of a boy with a food allergy and the woman recommended she take Bailey to be tested for allergies.

“That just opened up a whole world for me,” Murphy said.

Now, Murphy is doing all she can to raise awareness of food allergies and the struggle that sometimes accompanies the conditions.

“What I’m trying to do is save that little baby or that mom from the heartache of trying to help her baby,” she said. “If I can help a mom have a resource to go to, sooner than I was able to, mission accomplished.”

For Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 13-19, Murphy has organized a PAL 5K run/walk.

PAL stands for Protect a Life against food allergies.

The race will be 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19 at The Point industrial park in South Point. Registration will be available the day of the race at 7:30 a.m. at the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, where the race will begin.

Registration is $20 and forms can be found at www.tristateracer.com or by searching for PAL 5K on Facebook. Pre-registration by May 10 guarantees a T-shirt.

Awards will also be given to the top three male and female finishers and the top two runners in each age group.

There will also be a raffle with prizes, including an autographed Trace Adkins poster. Tickets can be purchased the day of the race or by contacting Murphy.

Money raised from the event will be donated in Bailey’s name to the 2012 Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) Walk for Food Allergy, which they will participate in, in September.

Last year, with help from friends, family and the community, Bailey’s ‘B’ Team raised about $1,100 for the walk. Murphy said she is hoping to exceed that with the help of the 5K.

“I would like to have 100 runners that day, or walkers, because $2,000 would be awesome,” Murphy said.

Even though Bailey has grown up saying no to “itchy foods,” as the family calls them, staying away from milk and peanut products requires constant diligence and planning ahead, Murphy said.

“If a person took a day and just read labels and tried to avoid one allergen, they’d be surprised how many things have (the allergen) in there,” she said.

For the Murphys, it took awhile to find a bread and a butter that didn’t have milk. She is still searching for a cheese. Even vegan cheeses, Murphy said, still contain some milk.

“I want to try to help a mom sooner,” Murphy said. “It’s hard when you first discover (the allergy). You’re just overwhelmed with, ‘What do I feed them?’”

Murphy has also started a Facebook page called Food Allergy Families. She said the site is a place to post info about food allergies and helpful tips about different foods children can eat. It is also a means of support and venting frustrations, Murphy said.

To contact Murphy to buy raffle tickets or PAL T-shirts, call 534-0765, or email jtjamiemurphy@att.net.