As an ambassador Julianne will work with us to educate, inform and campaign as a high profile entrepreneur who has lived with anaphylaxis since childhood.
Julianne Ponan was a toddler when she had her first anaphylactic attack. At nursery after eating biscuits with milk she collapsed, stopped breathing and ended up in intensive care. It was later discovered she had serious allergies including all nuts, sesame, chick peas, lentils, some perfumes and also oils in skin care and make-up products.
The young Julianne soon began to understand what her anaphylaxis would mean – often isolation. She was put on the ‘allergy table’ at nursery, often the only child at that table. This continued throughout school where she was often defined by her allergies, impacting what she could eat, where she could eat and even her ability to go on school outings. It marked her out, made her different, sometimes lonely. It will therefore come as no surprise she experienced some bullying – including having walnuts put in her pocket as a prank.
She realised the pressure her allergies put upon her family and how it impacted life choices – everywhere the family went where food and drink were involved the restrictions on her diet meant it became laborious, embarrassing and even humiliating. As she grew and she decided to go to university, her allergy story had to be told over and over again to allow her to progress and to educate her friends, tutors and fellow students.
Yet Julianne, from an early age, was quietly determined to push through and not let her future be defined by her allergies. She wanted to travel, she wanted to have the same opportunities as anyone even if that meant she had to consider her next steps more carefully. Her first full-time job out of university was in China. Her fear of managing her allergies while in another country was high yet she did it and found when she faced down her fear, it was okay. She also found when people around her were educated, she was accepted as a peer who happened to have allergies.
When she returned to the UK and created her own brand Creative Nature (free -from the top 14 allergens with baking, snacking and superfood products) she found this meant more travel to faraway places to source ethical products. She found the world of business often involves eating. Rather than seeing this as a negative – she did something else. Take every opportunity to educate others about free from options…
As Julianne’s company has grown, she has also become committed to supporting people like her or their families. With a large social media audience, she’s often asked to share her story and offer advice. She’s now campaigning for more awareness around issues such as full ingredients to be shown in every restaurant, allergen labelling on make-up and top 14 free from bays in mainstream grocers and hospital meals being safe for allergy sufferers.
Her top tips for coping with allergies during lockdown are:
Enter your details below and we’ll email you our printable guide featuring the symptoms to look out for and what to do in an emergency.
You’ll also receive our monthly Allergy Outlook email with our latest news, updates and resources straight to your inbox.