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  • Emily Manny

Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week!

Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week everyone!

My name is Emily. I'm 15, and I'm allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I'm so happy to be today's Food Allergy Awareness Week spotlight!

I was diagnosed with my allergies when I was two years old. I had a reaction to a peanut butter Christmas cookie. Since then, I've been lucky enough to only have had two reactions, neither of them serious enough to use an EpiPen.

Allergies and Extracurriculars

I love theater and music, and I'm in the drama club at my high school. Fortunately, I haven't really had any problems with my allergies there - I've never been onstage myself, so I don't have to worry about being too close to other actors or sharing a microphone with someone else. However, the last week of rehearsals before the shows is called tech week, and we're at school until 9pm, rehearsing from the moment the last bell rings to the time we get to leave. We get dinner catered to us during that week, and that's always been something I have to negotiate. I usually bring my own food and I don't eat desserts, but the people who handle getting the food for us are very careful and they never get anything that has nuts in it directly.

Friends and Family

I consider myself very lucky, because for the most part all my friends and family have been very supportive and understanding about my allergies. Since kindergarten, my friends have always protected and looked out for me, especially when it comes to my allergies. Three of my close friends have food allergies themselves, and we've helped each other out countless times and have always had each other's backs.

My parents have always been a big part of keeping me safe. They always try to make sure I'm comfortable when we go out to eat, and they take every measure they can to assure that I'm safe. We always make sure to inform wait staff about my allergy before I order. As I got older, I started doing that myself, but they always made sure to have my back when I was younger. They would make sure I had an allergy-safe treat in the office for class birthday parties in elementary school. Thanks to my family, I was even able to safely travel to Europe two summers ago! They've always supported and looked out for me.

Past Projects

I've done several presentations for school on food allergy awareness and food allergy bullying. My Girl Scout troop has also done a couple of badges on food allergies, and I'm hoping to do my Gold Award project on food allergies. (The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive.) I'm hoping to attend a FARE Teen Summit at some point, hopefully within the next couple of years. I'm so happy to be a part of TAG this year! I've had so much fun already, working with other teens across the country to help bring awareness to the severity of food allergies.

I hope to continue spreading awareness about food allergies and giving back to the allergy community. Thanks for reading and happy Food Allergy Awareness Week!

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