Hello! I’m Karen Luk, owner and designer of The Wicklow Project.
The Wicklow Project was born in 2018 shortly after I made the decision to go back to work after being a stay at home mom for 2.5 years. Putting our child in someone else’s care was hard enough, but putting our child with food allergies made it even harder. How would I know that the daycare provider would be diligent in making sure there were no peanuts or tree nuts around our daughter? What if the daycare provider were to forget? Cue in the anxiety. So I thought, what better way to protect our daughter than to have a constant reminder in the faces of those around her.
I wanted something that was cute, stylish and that sent a direct message regarding her food allergies. I scoured the internet and couldn’t find what I was looking for, so The Wicklow Project was born.
Being away from your child can be daunting but we are here to help you advocate and protect your children while spreading awareness for food allergies in stylish clothing that they can wear all year long.
Fun fact, our daughter’s middle name is Wicklow, named after a beautiful small town in Ireland.
Our Food Allergy Journey
When she was 10.5 months, we gave her peanut butter on toast, which she had a few times before with no issue. She began rubbing her mouth and I noticed a rash had developed. Her lips were a bit swollen and the rash later spread over her body. We panicked and drove to the hospital. During the ride, her ears, fingers and toes swelled and were red and plump. She was put under observation for hours but her symptoms eventually subsided and we were released with a prescription for Epi-Pens and a referral to a pediatric allergist.
Our allergist completed a skin scratch test which confirmed the egg and peanut allergy and explained to us that the reaction to avocado was due to something called Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES). We were put on a plan to slowly reintroduce egg through baked goods and to reintroduce avocado at 18 months. Over time, our daughter outgrew her egg allergy and was able to tolerate avocado again. That wasn’t the last of our scares. Despite testing negative for tree nuts at one year old, she slowly developed allergies to all tree nuts except almond and macadamia nut over the next year.
Our daughter is now in an oral immunotherapy program to desensitize her from peanut, hazelnut, cashew and walnut. We are very excited and hopeful for a positive outcome so that we can live a little more freely.