Mallory and Mason, whose father is Larry, and Benny and Harry, Tom’s children, all have food allergies that bring hidden danger to school events, birthday parties, restaurants, movie theaters, summer camp and family trips.
About a decade ago, the Shaevsky family was aboard a plane, heading down the runway, when Mason broke out in hives. Lois thinks peanut remnants on the seat probably caused the reaction. The flight crew had to turn the plane around, so they wouldn’t risk Mason having an even deadlier reaction in the air. An ambulance waiting at the gate took him to a nearby hospital where he recovered safely.
“I really feel for my kids,” Lois says of Tom and Larry. “I never went through that. You really just can’t trust anything.”
The children’s mothers, Marlo and Missy, have mastered nut-free cooking. Tom has successfully advocated for the University of Michigan Athletic Department to end the sale of peanuts during football and basketball games. And, after hearing about the research of Jessica O’Konek, Ph.D., the Shaevsky Family Foundation made a generous gift to support the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center. O’Konek is developing new therapies designed to prevent allergic reactions.