In a year where severe allergies have been at the forefront of people’s minds, our services have been in high demand.
Please help us to continue supporting people living with severe allergies in the UK.
Your donations make a real difference and help us to bring about positive change and a safer environment. Here are just some of the people we have made a difference to in 2018.David Reading - Co-founder and Honorary Vice President of The Anaphylaxis Campaign
My daughter, Sarah, died from anaphylaxis to peanut on the evening of October 26th, 1993. She was just 17 years old. Sarah had been out shopping and had eaten a dessert containing crushed peanuts in a department store restaurant in Guildford, Surrey. She hadn’t been diagnosed with a food allergy, but she was being treated for asthma.
Within minutes of coming home, Sarah called out that she did not feel well; she was wheezing and said her mouth felt funny. As Sarah’s breathing became more difficult, we called her GP and were advised to get her to the surgery, but it was too late; Sarah collapsed and died within minutes.
Her death became a national news story and early on I realised something positive could come out of our family’s personal tragedy. It was clear there was so little awareness about how serious food allergy could be.
Immediately I began getting enquiries. In those early days I was getting 60-70 letters a day through my letterbox. All were genuine cases – families who had experienced the trauma of anaphylaxis and were desperate for information. So, with others who were affected by this unpredictable and sometimes devastating condition, we formed the Anaphylaxis Campaign in 1994.
There were a dozen people at our inaugural meeting – most of them parents of children who were living with severe allergies – and all had stories to tell of inadequate food labelling, lack of awareness in restaurants, and poor allergy services. We set about launching a media campaign and reached a huge number of local and national newspapers.
During the years that followed, we met Government ministers, developed relationships with food companies, debated allergy problems with the medical community and campaigned to raise awareness in schools.
Over the years, our following has continued to grow, in-line with the growing instances of anaphylaxis and we continue working hard to provide invaluable support to those affected. With your help we can continue to fulfil our aim of providing a support system for people in the UK affected by severe allergies.
Ever since we lost our beautiful Daughter on New Year’s Day 2017, we have been driven to raise as much awareness as possible about the dangers of Allergies. This is testimony to Megan’s personality, as she had such a kind and thoughtful nature and would help others whenever she could. It is her positive outlook on life that keeps us motivated to help.
We hope to continue with Megan’s legacy and work with the Anaphylaxis Campaign to try and prevent this from happening to someone else in the future.
From the moment the Anaphylaxis Campaign first got in touch with us after Megan’s death, they have been an ever-present tower of support for us through our most difficult time.
We have learnt so much from their expertise and their vast array of information and resources. It was a great pleasure to meet the CEO of The Anaphylaxis Campaign, Lynne Regent who has visited us on a number of occasions to offer her support throughout the Court Case and various projects within Lancashire.
We are determined and fully committed to helping grow this great Charity. We hope our partnership and influence can bring some much-needed improvements within the food industry and also with patient care within GP practices to help change the lives of allergy sufferers and to keep them safe.
Adam’s family would like to share this link in the hope of raising further awareness of severe allergies
The Anaphylaxis campaign is critical for parents like me, this charity provides very good guidance for parents or carers who might feel isolated or unable to get answers about their allergy concerns. Parents with severely allergic children need to have their children’s health issues acknowledged and addressed, the Anaphylaxis Campaign has done this for me. My 14-year-old son Oinat has been living with severe allergies since he was very little.
Anaphylaxis is a condition which carries so many risks that can be fatal. It can also strike at any time in a person’s life without warning, as well as being something people suffer from longer term. With more awareness and greater precaution, lives can be saved.
The road with allergies is very long one and greater awareness and support out in communities is so important. More funds would enable the development of more support groups, there are currently no groups local to me in North London. The Campaign has good support and backing in many general hospitals, but wider reach would help to cascade the ever changing advice about allergy management.
I would encourage anyone who can, to fundraise for the Campaign. I managed to raise 171% of my target when I took part in the London Marathon Walk this year and feel extremely proud that I could give back to the Campaign and help them to increase awareness of this very daunting condition.
I joined the Campaign after my daughter suffered anaphylaxis from tree nuts at the age of 15 months. I joined a wonderful AC support group which gave me huge amounts of help, support and information in those early years. Ten years on and I now have two daughters with severe and complex allergies and run a local Support Group for the Campaign. Through doing this I realised just how many children living locally were affected and saw the need to help others on the difficult journey, learning to live with a potentially life-threatening condition. I’ve learned so much about managing life with allergies, that I can now pass onto my group to make the journey easier for them and I’ve learned so much from them in return.
Fear plays a huge part of the management of allergies. The mental impact of living with such anxiety is huge and relentless. I feel scared all the time that my girls will be exposed to something that may kill them. I feel powerless that I can’t control everything in their environment to keep them safe. Every mealtime or outing that we get them safely through is like a battle won in a never-ending war. We fight again the next snack time or meal, and never gain ground.
For children, this anxiety needs to be managed. They need to feel safe, but to be on their guard. They must assess risks, to know what they can and can’t have. They have to feel comfortable with saying ‘no’ to others who are offering them food or drink and to speak up when they don’t feel well.
This is the true value of the support group, to be with others who also manage “the fear” every day. To know that we just have to keep going. That others are making these sacrifices too to keep ourselves or our children safe and that there’s a community out there who are incredibly brave and resourceful. My own group has been very lucky to have the support of two fantastic hospital consultants who generously share their knowledge and insights. This increase in awareness and knowledge helps all of us. We are not complainers – we are warriors. Fighting the fear, managing the risk.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign support groups enables us to pool our combined knowledge. With additional funds the Campaign can continue to run these groups, widen their reach and support more young people and their families living with severe allergies.
Since I was a young child, I have been involved with the Anaphylaxis Campaign, an organization that supports severe allergy sufferers. I was introduced to the campaign first as a recipient of their services; then as I got older, I spoke at support groups in my local area to help parents and children navigate their lives with allergies.
Ever since I learnt of my extensive list of allergies as a child, they have been at the forefront of my mind. My allergies have dictated so much of my life, but they have also helped me grow into the person I am today. They are responsible for my interest in biochemistry.
I understand the difficulties associated with having food allergies, however, with support from organizations like the Anaphylaxis Campaign, any situation can be managed. I am grateful for all the support I have received over the years.
Last August, I pledged to row 200,000m in support of the Campaign which has been a great support to me and my family in managing my allergies and navigating my nutrition. I organized an online fundraiser and raised £1,364 for the Campaign. I hope this donation and other donations will further support the wonderful work of the Campaign.
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Please address your cheques to ‘Anaphylaxis Campaign’ and send in the post to: Anaphylaxis Campaign, 1 Alexandra Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 6BU.