Connor Martin has to be careful.
The 11-year-old is allergic to mold, cockroaches, dust mites, pineapple, avocado and tree nuts, which includes everything from cashews, pistachios and walnuts to even coconut.
But Connor wants to raise awareness about the dangers of food allergies and help fundraise for treatment and a cure. He will hold his fifth annual lemonade stand from 3-6 p.m. Saturday to raise money for Food Allergy Research and Education, also known as FARE.
The lemonade stand will be held at his grandmother Beverly Fricks’ home located at 5934 Nachoochee Trail in Flowery Branch. Connor will have lemonade, popcorn and Rice Krispie treats, all for free. He asks only for donations to FARE.
“We’re raising money to find a cure for tree nut allergies and all allergies,” Connor said. “Last year we raised about $640 here, and this year our goal is $800.”
Connor said the lemonade stand last year raised the $640, but in total donations he raised nearly $1,500. He hopes to do more this year.
Connor will operate the stand with his grandparents and parents, Kerrie and Kevin Martin.
According to FARE, food allergies affect 1 in 13 children in the U.S. Connor’s tree nut allergy in particular is life threatening, but his grandmother said it doesn’t hold him back. It has instead taught him “to be a responsible young man.”
Connor has “luckily” had only one scare in his life, when he had to administer his own auto-injector. But his family is very careful to help him avoid allergens.
“It’s awful,” Kerrie Martin said. “He’s gotten to where he can’t go in certain places. There’s a pepper place at the mall. We can’t go in there. He’ll immediately have trouble breathing.”
“It feels like a lump in my throat,” Connor said.
Kerrie Martin added her son won’t always know what he’s allergic to exactly. Allergies can develop and change as people age, and Connor routinely sees an allergist to stay on top of it.
The Martins also support FARE at its annual Food Allergy Walk in Atlanta. This year’s walk is 9 a.m. Oct. 1 at Chastain Park. Those who cannot attend the lemonade stand this Saturday can donate to Connor’s walking team at www.foodallergywalk.org. Search either for Connor Martin or his team name, Team Crazy Cashews.
Kerrie Martin said anyone is welcome to join them for the walk in Atlanta and for lemonade Saturday. Connor said he is grateful for all the support he receives from the community for the event. He said cars line his grandmother’s street, and many people in the neighborhood drive golf carts over for the event.
“I’m doing it so maybe one day I can not have food allergies,” he said. “Because it really stinks.”