Alex Tagliani Spreading Awareness about Food Allergies, EpiPen

Photo Credit: Kreistina Blinova

Ahead of the on-track action at the Honda Indy Toronto, Alex Tagliani took over downtown Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square to kick off his Allergy-Friendly Food Drive. On top of hitting Toronto last weekend, the tour has four more stops, corresponding with NASCAR Pinty’s Series races across Canada.

The purpose of the program is to spread awareness about food allergies, while encouraging attendees to donate non-perishable allergy-friendly food.

“Every year, we are trying to always come up with various different ideas to best pass on our food allergy awareness message,” Tagliani told OnPitRoad.com. “This year coming into Toronto, thanks to Pinty’s that have been working really hard to bring us back into this market, we felt doing this mixing with giving back to the local community by collecting donations for the local food bank was a good idea to spread our awareness. It’s feeding a lot of people caught by food allergy and this is just the first stop of five total cities that are getting this allergy friendly food drive.”

Food Allergies have been bigger parts of discussions over recent years, thanks to Food Allergy Canada getting in the grocery stores and food production companies and getting them to list all foods in something on the labels clearly.

As part of spreading awareness about food allergies, Tagliani is encouraging those affected to always carry their EpiPen with them so they’re prepared when they have a reaction.

“For me, my personal opinion, I’d rather be safe than control my life upon not having my EpiPen on me,” he said. “I did it for many years due to no choice. I am in an non-controlled environment, going to meetings and restaurants, traveling all the time. I can’t always cook my own food all the time so because I’m exposed to an environment that I can’t always control, for sure I’m saying to always have your EpiPen. You should always be prepared and be safe.”

Tagliani said he began spreading the message after seeing a lack of children carrying their own EpiPens, and feeling embarrassed to talk about their allergy. By spreading his message, he hopes to encourage the conversations to happen to make it safer for everyone.

“If you know Alex Tagliani, there’s a lot less chance you’ll feed me nuts because everybody knows I have an allergy,” he said. “But if you hide it and come talk to me, spend time with me and don’t know, maybe you’ll feed me a meal that has nuts. There’s no chance this meal has nuts because if they know me, they know I have an allergy. But if you hide it, the risk elevates. My message is to more make kids feel they can live well with it, you need to be comfortable with it and not embarrassed, and always used the safe way.

“I mean, would you jump in my car without the seat belt on and no helmet? I’ll drive that fast, but with a helmet. That’s the comparison that we’re making to them and hopefully get to something.

The Quebec native says his hope by the end of the year everyone involved and affected by allergies is proud of their work.

“Hopefully people feel we worked hard to promote a safer environment for them,” he said.” It’s a work in progress in coming up creatively to spread the message.”

 

Allergy-Friendly Food Drive – Participating Races

July 23
Edmonton International Raceway
Non-perishable food items to be accepted at booth at front gate from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Wetaskiwin, Alta.

July 27
Auto Clearing Motor Speedway
Non-perishable food items to be accepted at booth at front gate from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Saskatoon, Sask.

August 14
Circuit de Trois-Rivières
Non-perishable food items to be accepted at booth at Ryan Entrance from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Trois-Rivières, Que.

August 20
Riverside International Speedway
Non-perishable food items to be accepted at booth at front gate from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Antigonish, N.S.

 

About Ashley McCubbin 3102 Articles
Joining OnPitRoad.com mid-2013 season, Ashley McCubbin is now the Managing Editor and contributes to each racing division as needed. Since studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber, Ashley has published articles on a couple of different websites, while serving as a public relations representative for different short track teams. Born in North York, Ontario, Ashley currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area. She has spent her entire life at the short track level, falling in love with the sport at the age of five. Beyond her love of short track racing, she also has grown an interest for both NASCAR and the IndyCar Racing Series. She also enjoys taking photos and working on websites, while playing a couple rounds of Candy Crush afterwards.