Elliott Sadler joins forces with Auvi-Q to help raise awareness for life-threatening allergies

Richmond, Va. – You had to look real hard to find the difference in Thursday’s Flying Squirrels game at the Diamond.

Even then, it was difficult to see.

The Squirrels hosted a “Peanut Free” day at the ballpark, or as close to peanut free as they could reasonably come for a sport and a snack so intertwined throughout their respective histories.

But the Squirrels had a specific objective, and brought in Emporia native and Xfinity Series driver Elliott Sadler to help raise awareness for a growing section of the population with severe peanut allergies. Sadler and his wife Amanda learned their son Wyatt has just such an allergy when he was just two years old.

“I was holding him at a party and eating peanuts with my other hand” Sadler remembered. “And I gave him a small piece. He had an immediate reaction and we had to rush him to the hospital. Since then, we’ve been extremely vigilant about what he can and cannot have or where we go to eat, how they prepare the food.”

On Wednesday, Sadler announced he was partnering with Auvi-Q, which produces a type of epinephrine injection they tout as being easier to use. Sadler first met brothers Eric and Evan Edwards, the inventors of Auvi-Q at a Squirrels game last year.

“It’s very emotional and special to me and my family” said Sadler who along with Wyatt and daughter Austyn threw out ceremonial first pitches before Thursday’s game. “We’re consumers and we use the Auvi-Q.”

The Sadlers have become extremely cautious about where they can go as a family away from their home. They are hoping to educate other parents in a similar situation about their new “safety net”.

“They can do all the things they want to do” Sadler said of families with severe food allergies. “You still have to be proactive. Just like me being in a race car. I have to make sure it’s as safe as it possibly can be, but I still get to go out and have fun.”

“It’s the same thing with a kid who has a peanut allergy. You can go out and do these things.”

Sadler explained the main benefit of the Auvi-Q over a traditional epi pen. "It's voice activated and will walk anyone through the steps to use it. I travel a lot, we have different baby sitters and substitute teachers at school. This helps everyone. We still take all of our precautions but if something does go wrong, we have the Auvi-Q in our pocket to help you get through it."