Woman "allergic to life" raising awareness for Teal Pumpkin Proj - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Woman "allergic to life" raising awareness for Teal Pumpkin Project

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SHELL ROCK (KWWL) -

Halloween is just a few weeks away, and for some kids, severe allergies can stand in the way of trick-or-treating.

That's why the national Teal Pumpkin Project was started, to raise awareness and promote inclusion of kids with food allergies.

Those who take part in the campaign place a teal pumpkin outside their homes and hand out candy that is sensitive to allergies.

Peg Kleve is a big proponent of the project.

She has mast cell disease, which essentially which in her own words, means she's "allergic to life"

When she was a grade school teacher, she says she never understood the allergy craze with kids until she was diagnosed in 2011.

Now she's finding a way to help others with similar conditions.

On Halloween, the day is made for candy and costumes.

But Halloween is forever changed for Kleve.

Anything can set her allergies off-- she's been to the hospital dozens of times, she can't go to most restaurants, and she even had to move homes.

Death is a threat on every corner for her.

It's been almost five years since she was first diagnosed, and now she's making it her mission to help kids with similar needs.

"You know, kids go out with their siblings that don't have allergies, and a person will hand out candy to all the kids, but the kid with allergies has to close their bag," said Peg.

That's why she's taking part in the teal pumpkin project.

In order to show KWWL her pumpkin outside, she had to put on a mask to keep out allergens and UV-protected clothing.

Kleve says she knows the isolation kids with allergies must feel, especially on Halloween.

She feels that isolation every day.

"Some days you just don't know if you're going to make it or not. And these kids, they just want to have fun," she said tearfully.

The complexities of her daily life are something she wouldn't wish on anyone, and that's why she says the simplicity of a teal pumpkin is so important.

More information on the Teal Pumpkin Project can be found here

More information on mast cell disease can be found here

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