The belle of the ball had to miss the fancy seated dinner, the VIP’s and world-renowned speakers Wednesday night for the dedication of the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Medical Center. She had to go home early and do her homework.
The little Cinderella was 8-year old Nancy Dedman, (pictured) who, besides being a Hockaday student, was the impetus for the creation of the center at the Pavilion at CMC. It seems that following a severe allergic reaction to a certain food, her parents Rachael and Robert Dedman rolled up their sleeves to learn more about this potential life-threatening condition. One of the things that they discovered was that Children’s annually treats more than 560 children with food allergies.
“I didn’t know much about food allergies until Nancy was diagnosed,” said Rachael. “It is a steep learning curve for families when their loved one is newly identified as having food allergies.”
And when the Dedmans undertake a project, they become experts and put their money in just the right places. Traveling throughout the country, they talked with specialists in the area of allergies and along with grandmother Nancy Dedman they provided CMC with the $2.35 million center.
Last night before the reception and dinner, Little Nancy got a sneak preview of the clinic. It’s doubtful that she realized all the life-changing experiences that would result from her allergy. But like any youngster, she was immediately drawn to the observation room with its marker walls. There on a table was a box of colorful markers. She knew exactly what to do, picked out some colors and started drawing on the wall. Afterall that’s what it was meant for.
While the adults including keynote speaker Dr. Hugh Sampson, professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Dedman parents and Dr. Drew Bird (Children’s allergy and immunology specialist and Dedman Family Scholar in Child Care) had the “official” photos taken, Nancy continued her work. Was she drawing a garden? Or was she simply autographing the wall? When Dr. Sampson, (pictured left with Nancy Dedman) joined Nancy, she revealed that she had drawn a picture of her “best friend” — Daisy Dedman (pictured), her puppy.
Alas, she was gone just minutes before her grandmother pulled up in her black Lexus. “Where is my granddaughter?” were the first words out of the grand lady. Finding that she had just missed her namesake, she quickly got over the timing when she discovered that she and daughter-in-law Rachael (pictured left with Nancy Dedman) looked like an adorable mother-daughter best-dressed team — blonde hair, black cocktail dresses, red clutches and very similar Christian Louboutins!
Then Nancy was off to see firsthand the result of their efforts including the most amazing doors. Each of the observation rooms has sliding glass doors. No big deal. Most patios have ‘em. Ah, but these are very special doors. With a flick of a switch, the glass becomes opaque allowing for privacy or observation seamlessly by staff when needed. One guest laughed, “The kids will wear these doors out.”
Once again Children’s makes feeling badly not so bad and the Dedmans get an A+ for helping others.