Thankful for the Kindness of Strangers

This past Sunday, my oldest daughter and I experienced stand up paddle boarding (SUP) together for the first time.  We explored the brackish waters of Crystal River and searched for manatees with our friends.  It was a wonderful day trip and one that deserves a full post review (to follow shortly), however, this post is dedicated to the kind people who helped Allana and me.

Once we reached the springs, Allana and I took the moment to take in gorgeous view and snack on the blueberry Larabars that that I packed which contained cashews.  Unbeknownst to me, Allana is severely allergic to cashews and she immediately went into anaphylactic shock.  Her throat itched; her breathing became labored.  She began to swell and turn beet red with hives all over her body.  After only ingesting one small bite, our fun adventure now turned into an emergency situation.

Due to my walnut allergy and my other daughter’s allergy to bee stings, I normally carry two EpiPens, but I left them back in the car along with allergy medication.  I asked our guide if he had a first aid kit containing Benadryl or an EpiPen, but he did not.  I quickly paddled over to a dive boat within sight and asked for first aid, but they did not have any medication on board either.

Then, I spotted a boat idling past and I flagged them down to ask for a ride back to the public park where we launched our paddle boards.  With 14 mph winds, I knew I didn’t have the strength nor the time to spare.  Thankfully, they graciously offered assistance.

I share this story hoping someone in the six degrees of separation in this big blogosphere may know Gary and Amy of Crystal River. (Other than they have two children a boy and girl ages 3 and 4, that’s the only information I have.) Please let them know Allana is safe and we are truly grateful for their kindness.


  1. Jenny says:

    This was so scary! So grateful for the kindness of strangers and as a mama I learned a lesson that day as well. Always always always carry a first aid kit containing benadryl on your person. Always. I now have one in my bike pouch, in addition to the one I already had in my truck, my purse, and my backpack.

    Sweet Allana was so brave and you kept your wits about you which helped to keep her calm. Good job, mama.

  2. Kat says:

    Goodness, that must have been crazy scary! Allergies suck! the kindness of strangers reminds us of the positivity still out there in the muck of bad

  3. gone bananas says:

    I was thinking you should submit a letter to the paper! I bet they or someone they know would see it! So glad Allana is okay, but what a scare!

  4. LeeAnn says:

    I’m so glad Allana is OK and you got the help you needed in time! My heart dropped as soon as I saw the word “cashew”, because my daughter also has a life threatening allergy to cashews (and pistachios), and she has had an anaphylactic reaction. Our rule is that Rylie does not put ANYTHING in her mouth unless there is an epiPen available.

    I hope you find the family that helped you get back. They played in instrumental part in saving your daughter’s life, and I know I grateful you are.

  5. Stacy Uncorked says:

    I got all teary-eyed when you posted about it on Facebook, more so now with more information. I’m SO glad Allana is safe and OK – and I hope you track down the guardian angel family so you can thank them in person! ((HUGZ!!))

  6. Kim says:

    Wow – so scary! I’m glad you found someone who was willing to help you and that everything worked out OK!

  7. Jen says:

    Too scary! Logan has peanut allergies. I always have my Epipen but like you I would not have thought to carry it on the river. Thank God for those people!

  8. Kelly Wade says:

    That’s scary! Good thing you thought fast to get a ride to the shore. I was a nanny for a young boy who had a peanut allergy and I was always so scared that he would eat something and I would need to use his Epipen- I’m not very good in those kinds of situations. Glad she’s okay!

  9. Running Betty says:

    it’s tough finding out about allergies the hard way! When my best friend from high school, Cindy, got married, I shared a hotel room with one of her other friends for the rehearsal dinner. I borrowed her face wash in the shower before dinner, and it had white tea in it. I am allergic to tea! People always ask what will happen to me if I drink it, and I don’t know – but now I do know what happens if I rub it all over my face in the shower! yuck. Luckily I was just fine by the time the ladies went dancing after dinner.

  10. Jenn @ Jenn Likes It says:

    This is one of my worst nightmares. My 3 year old son is severely allergic to peanuts. Our whole family avoids eating nuts and seeds. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way about his allergy too. He had a tiny bite of peanut butter and soon after he was covered with hives from head to toe. I often wake up in a panic at night because I’ve had a nightmare that somehow he ate something he shouldn’t have. I definitely carry an epipen with me everywhere. One in the kitchen and one in my purse. But every once in a while I forget to grab it. I’m so glad you found some nice people to help you out. Did you have to go to the ER?

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