CHRIS A RUSNAK
WHEN ROBYN O’BRIEN, a Costco member in Superior, Colorado,
discovered that her 9-month-old daughter, Victoria, was suffering from
severe food allergies, she couldn’t just follow the doctor’s orders. The
instructions were to keep Victoria away from eggs, milk, peanuts and
other allergy-trigger foods and get her retested when she turned 2.
“I was just terrified something would happen to her,” says Robyn.
She switched her family to a healthier, more organic-focused diet.
But eating well wasn’t enough for O’Brien, so she launched AllergyKids
( www.allergykids.com), on Mother’s Day weekend of 2006. Her business provides tools for parents of kids who have food allergies and for
others who need information on allergies.
Inspired by the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer, O’Brien
created an easy-to-identify universal symbol (a green stop sign with an
exclamation point) and placed it on everything from stickers and tags
to allergy emergency kits to wristbands that contain a flash drive onto
which a child’s medical information can be downloaded.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and
Immunology, 5 million American children suffer from food allergies.
While some kids outgrow these allergies, at least one out of 15 children
under the age of 3 suffers with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Approximately one out of six kids will have an allergic reaction at school.
Support for O’Brien’s cause has been tremendous. She received an
Innovation Quotient Award, which honors Colorado businesses that
display innovation and creativity.
In addition, she has attracted corporate partners such as Whole
Foods and Wild Oats; Frontier Airlines, which gives kids with allergies
the sticker at check-in; and the National Association of School Nurses,
which helps with education.—Shana McNally
The barn owl, once a common
sight in Illinois, is now endangered. Only five or six breeding
pairs are known to remain in the
state. Hoping to raise awareness of the beauty all around
that is slipping away, nature
photographer Carol Freeman
of Glenview, Illinois, a Costco
member, focuses her talent
on the barn owl and 477 other
threatened and endangered
species in Illinois. On her Web
raphy.com, she offers calendars,
postcards, bookmarks, posters
and other products that incorporate her photos.—Will Fifield
A Father’s Day message
STUART GUSTAFSON sation Starters for
was sitting among Fathers and Children
his fellow church of Any Age! also de-choir members in scribes ways to iden-
2005 when his dad tify what kind of dad
suddenly came to you have.
mind. Gustafson was “The reason that’s
16 when a drunk dri- important is because
ver killed his father [fathers] are approach-and grandfather in a able in different man-head-on collision. “I ners,” Gustafson says.
realized there were For example, he sug-many questions I Stuart Gustafson, gests asking a career-was never able to right, and his dad. driven dad what is
ask him,” he says. On satisfying about his cho-his ever-present pocket notebook, sen profession. Or asking a father
he began writing them down. who loves community service
Within months, Gustafson, a about the joys of helping people
Boise, Idaho, Costco member and learn to help themselves.
married father of two, self-pub- His recommendation for
lished his questions on the 90th Father’s Day? “If your dad is alive,
anniversary of his dad’s birthday. ask him one probing question,”
In April, Adams Media published he says. “And if you’re a dad,
a new incarnation of the book, open up to your children.”
co-authored with Robyn Freed- You can find the book at
man Spizman. Questions to Bring www.stuartgustafson.com.
You Closer to Dad: 100+ Conver- —Lisa Alcalay Klug
We want to hear from you
IF YOU HAVE a note, photo or story to share (it should be about
Costco or Costco members in some way), you can send it to “The
Member Connection,” The Costco Connection, P.O. Box 34088,
Seattle, WA 98124-1088, or e-mail to email@example.com with
“The Member Connection” in the subject line. Submissions cannot
be acknowledged or returned.