Thermo Fisher Landon's Story
What was a stake for Landon? His entire dream. The possibility of not getting that scholarship. So, we had a lot writing on this decision.
Landon started playing football when he was seven years old.
Landon Robinson, a native to Copley, Ohio, grew up as a four sport athlete. Excelling in both athletics and academics.
He played football, he played baseball, he ran track, he did wrestling. He enjoys the the team camaraderie of football.
His senior year, as a linebacker at Copley High School, he earned 13 All-Ohio honors and was named as an All-State linebacker, drawing recognition from some of the country's biggest football programs.
Landon secured 31 offers to play football. His dream offer came when he was offered a scholarship for a military service academy. He was very proud of himself and so were we.
When that offer came in January, Landon felt like his dreams were starting to become a reality. But his journey was not going to be an easy one.
When Landon was six years old we decided to have him tested for the peanut allergy. The reason we decided to have him tested was because of the family history. His father is severely allergic to peanuts. So we decided out of safety and precaution to have all the children tested.
The results of the allergen test that day revealed that Landon, like his father and two brothers, tested positive for a sensitivity to peanuts.
My mom really kept up with it and just made sure everything that we ate was peanut free and so I really had no worries.
Obviously the biggest challenge is making sure that the children are secure and safe outside of our home. When I was speaking with the recruiter, I asked him how are you going to keep Landon safe, because Landon is highly sensitive to peanuts and has been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Once I disclose that information on the phone, the recruiter just became very silent and his words were "let me call you back."
Landon received a phone call about a week later and the recruiter has shared with Landon due to the military rules, unfortunately we're going to have to rescind your offer.
Military service members may end up serving in locations that don't have a wide variety of food options or easily accessible medical care. For this reason, systemic or anaphylactic allergic reactions can be a disqualifying factor, which is what led to Landon's offer being rescinded.
Landon was extremely distraught, extremely sad that his offer was rescinded.
It took a toll on him, it really did. He was really bummed out it. Was just down in the dumps.
He had worked so hard to get it and so to hear the recruiters say, "unfortunately, I have to rescind this offer," it was hard it's hard to hear.
Yes, he was sad but at the same time, he was a little bit determined.
He's a really driven person like, he's very focused. He's like a streamlined focus on whatever he wants to do.
"No" in my world is just not an option. And I had heard, because of my clinical background, I knew that there was an opportunity to retest. So I had that in the back of my head and I thought what do we have to lose? If it comes back positive, we've done everything we can do, but if it comes back negative, then we move to the next step.
Patrice and Landon went back to the allergist's office where they found out about specific IgE allergen component testing, a more comprehensive test that can help pinpoint the specific allergens that may be causing symptoms. We continued the process. We did the prick, the prick came back negative. The next step was to draw blood, to do the blood testing. The blood testing came back with high sensitivity to something. We didn't know what it was, we didn't know which component it was. And so Dr. Cashore said, okay there's one more step to this blood test. Now we need to know exactly what he's reacting to.
Like a puzzle, allergens are made up of smaller pieces which we call allergen components. These components can tell a person more about their specific allergy. Some people may be allergic to only one component in the whole peanut allergen puzzle. However, if they only get tested for the whole allergen and not individual components, they may never know which piece of the puzzle they are truly allergic to. All allergies aren't made equal this means that not everyone will have the same type of peanut allergy. On top of that, some components in the peanut allergen are less dangerous than others. Meaning that if someone is allergic to a less dangerous peanut component, they may be able to tolerate peanuts.
In Landon's case the test revealed that he was sensitized to a less dangerous peanut component that is similar to a protein present when a person is sensitized to birch tree pollen.
We were hopeful because we saw the negative, negative, negative. We were like, oh my God, this this might be worth something, right? So we were getting excited we were hopeful that that we may have an opportunity to change this.
When we got the call to say we're ready to bring him in for the food challenge. So, we were excited. We were nervous. Landon was really nervous, because he's now 18 years old, never had peanut butter. He ate it for the first time and he liked it, number one. No reaction. Second hour, he ate a little bit more. No reaction. Third hour, no reaction. And the fourth hour, he ate a full tablespoon of peanut butter. You could see he was relieved. He was happy. He was grateful. He was ready. It was the smile that Landon has all the time. I saw it. I saw it back. He got it back.
So we got the letter. We sent it off. The recruiter sent it to their physicians. He came back to Landon and said "I have good news, we have a spot for you." And so that's when Landon really was happy. He had secured his spot again.
I realized later, that once everything settled and his dream had been achieved, this is bigger than just my family. This is bigger than just the test. This is life-changing for so many other people who may feel like they don't have another choice. Regardless of if it's a negative result versus a positive result, to know is the win.