Kyle Dine's music has been the soundtrack to my son's childhood. So when I found out the the food allergy educator would be touring in the southeastern U.S., I reached out, just in case he'd be in my area. To my happy surprise, not only was he coming through Tampa Bay, Kyle was planning to stay for a couple days so he could fulfill his dream of watching some of his hometown Toronto Blue Jays' spring training games.
My excited kiddo barely believed me when I broke the news. For a child with multiple, life threatening food allergies Kyle is, quite literally, a rock star. His joyful verses about avoiding allergens, wearing medic alert bracelets, carrying epinephrine and reading ingredient labels make my son's world a happier and safer place.
My child is fortunate to already have one food allergic adult in his life, since my brother is violently reactive to shellfish. Still, my kid made a point of telling Kyle the allergens they have in common: seafood, eggs and nuts, as well as the ones they didn't. I absolutely loved having my son's musical hero casually pull an epinephrine auto-injector out of his pocket and talk about safely and successfully navigating plane flights and baseball games.
When Kyle joined us for dinner one evening, I wanted to make sure he got a taste of Florida that someone with food allergies would not usually be able to enjoy. So I made chicken instead of fish tacos (recipe to come) and a vegan coconut key lime pie for dessert. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find safe cans of the thick coconut milk I usually use and had to make do with the much healthier kind from the carton, so it didn't gel quite right, but the pie was still a smash.
The highlight of the visit was the evening Kyle pulled out his guitar and played a mini concert. We even got to meet the puppets EpiMan and Epi, Jr, plus a new one, Chef Allergie. Despite my amateur video making, Kyle's musical talent and ability to connect with kids are easy to recognize, as is the happiness on my son's face.
Due to technical difficulties (my inability to put an SD card with sufficient memory in the camera), I was only able to capture one other song. It was also clearly a hit.
In a true act of dedication to a young fan, Kyle even managed to charm our pet ball python, Millie, but I don't think we were able to convince him to write a song about our hairless and dander free, ultimate allergy friendly pet. If you make it to one of the shows on the tour, Kyle may sing about Smellephant the Allergic Elephant instead. (Feel free to ask him how the song about Millie is coming along, though!)
Don't miss a chance to see Kyle perform live, if you are near any of his concerts. They are an uplifting experience for anyone with food allergies and a rollicking, highly educational event for anyone who doesn't. I thought my son was a huge fan before Kyle came to visit. Now he listens to both of Kyle's CDs constantly, singing along loudly, proud of the food allergy connection to his hero.
Click here for all the tour dates and locations!
I don't know of any other medical condition that has it's own musician. We are incredibly fortunate to have Kyle as an ambassador who educates and inspires with his music. His passion and dedication are part of the reason those of us living with food allergies aren't just a population with a shared diagnosis. We are a caring and welcoming community that absolutely rocks!