Reese Strong

Turning tragedy into advocacy for food allergy awareness and accessibility

Local Eagle resident Heather Langer’s journey with ReeseStrong, Inc. began with a mother’s unimaginable loss

Transforming into a beacon of hope and advocacy for food allergy awareness and accessibility. In an exclusive interview with Eagle Magazine, Heather shared her deeply personal journey and her unwavering commitment to making a difference in honor of her daughter, Reese.

Reese, Cheerleading photo

The journey began tragically in May of 2021 when Heather’s daughter, Reese, lost her life to a fatal anaphylactic reaction after consuming a dessert at her cheer banquet. Heather’s grief turned into a fierce determination to prevent other families from experiencing such devastating loss. “ReeseStrong was created to help children and their families fight food allergies through community awareness, education, and advocacy in her honor,” Heather shared.

Heather’s advocacy took her to Washington DC, a trip she and Reese were meant to take together for her 8th-grade class trip. Instead, Heather found herself raising awareness and working on policy changes with top legislators. The focus? The availability and affordability of life-saving medication like EpiPens. “One of the biggest burdens food allergy families face is the rising cost of epinephrine auto-injectors that expire every year,” Heather emphasized.

Senator James Risch in Washington D.C. with Heather Langer
Senator James Risch in Washington D.C. with Heather Langer

The statistics surrounding food allergies are staggering. Over 33 million Americans are affected, with nearly 10% of Idaho’s population grappling with this issue. Heather stressed the importance of education, awareness, and preparedness in managing food allergies, especially among children. “Epi first, Epi fast,” she urged, highlighting the critical need for immediate action in the event of an anaphylactic reaction.

ReeseStrong aims to make a tangible difference by empowering children with the knowledge and self-care skills to navigate life with food allergies confidently.

Despite facing numerous challenges, including emotional hurdles and logistical complexities, Heather remains steadfast in her mission. ReeseStrong organizes community events annually to raise awareness and support, including a Walk and Memorial Golf Tournament.

Courage At Congress Fare
Courage At Congress Fare

Influencing policymakers and healthcare providers to prioritize the accessibility and affordability of EpiPens is a key focus for ReeseStrong. Heather passionately advocates for policy changes that would cap the out-of-pocket cost of epinephrine auto-injectors and improve training for food service employees to prevent allergic reactions.

Heather’s determination to fight for change stems from the heartbreaking loss of her daughter. “Losing a child is painful, especially when it can be prevented,” she shared. Reese remains Heather’s strength and motivation to continue her advocacy work.

To those facing personal tragedies and passionate about advocating for causes close to their hearts, Heather offers simple yet powerful advice: “Keep going. Your WHY is your fuel.”

Heather Langer In Washington D.C.
In Washington D.C.

Looking ahead, Heather hopes ReeseStrong will continue to broaden its impact, fostering environments where individuals and families feel understood and safe.

Through initiatives like working with local restaurants to create safer dining environments, ReeseStrong is dedicated to making living with food allergies easier and less restrictive for everyone involved.

Heather’s trip to Washington DC was filled with determination and purpose, advocating for legislative changes that would benefit the food allergy community. Fired up and ready to make waves, Heather and ReeseStrong are committed to creating a safer, more inclusive world for those affected by food allergies.

In closing, Heather invites the community to join ReeseStrong in their mission, whether through participating in events, spreading awareness, or supporting policy changes.

Together, they strive to honor Reese’s memory and make a lasting impact on the lives of individuals and families navigating the challenges of food allergies.

“ReeseStrong was created to help children and their families fight food allergies through community awareness, education, and advocacy in her honor.”

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