An afternoon tea with a friend a couple of months ago didn’t turn out to be the enjoyable experience Lauren had hoped for. Despite asking her routine question to the waiter whether any of the savoury and sweet treats contain nuts, and receiving a reassuring no, Lauren inadvertently ate a cake containing almonds. The experience left Lauren scared and distressed, and it was her first severe reaction since a toddler.
“I had survived 20 years without eating nuts, so I was confident in my ability to avoid them. It just goes to show no matter how careful you are, mistakes can happen, you just have to take all the precautions you can to reduce the risk” says Lauren.
Lifetime of support
Two decades earlier, a mixed bag of nuts was the trigger that led a then two-year-old Lauren and her parents on her allergy journey. A no nut policy was, literally, doctor’s orders.
Lauren’s parents have kept in touch with the Anaphylaxis Campaign since day one. As parents of a newly diagnosed child, they were reassured by hearing other people’s stories and felt comforted by the expert support available.
Over the years, the e-newsletters – for both her parents and now Lauren herself as an adult – have been an insightful read, and Lauren has also found the webinars incredibly useful to get up to speed with new trends in the food industry. And Lauren’s mum even returned to the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s website in the aftermath of Lauren’s allergic reaction a couple of months ago, and came away with invaluable and clinical-based advice on what steps to take next.
We were delighted to welcome Lauren to our Volunteers family at the start of 2021. As an Allergy Buddy, Lauren provides one-to-one advice and support to those living with allergies. It can be a lifeline for some, connecting them to others in the allergic community and sharing their personal experiences and the daily challenges faced. Thank you for giving back, Lauren, and doing something positive with your allergy!
A gift today could help a young adult, like Lauren, access clinical-based information and advice from the Anaphylaxis Campaign when they need it – whatever milestone or stage of their allergy journey.
A Chocolate Orange to the rescue!
For Lauren, a key part of growing up with allergies was dealing with social situations involving foods. Asking for a specific allergy menu, or sometimes having a food order taken by a manager, often made Lauren feel the odd one out among friends. “It took some getting used to”, Lauren explained.
And eating out at Christmas is no different. Avoiding the stuffing or festive puddings on offer in restaurants is an annual habit, but Lauren always has a stand-by Chocolate Orange to hand which is safe for her to eat!
Checking ingredients is second nature to Lauren – not just for food products. “Many people wouldn’t consider the presence of nut oils in cosmetic products. I sometimes receive gifts at Christmas like hand cream or lip balm, which often contain sweet almond oil. So, I need to check ingredients of presents for myself” said Lauren.
A message from Lauren
“Thank you so much for your generous donations! They help not only raise awareness of allergies, but also provide invaluable support for people living with allergies and their families.”