“It Can Be Tough, But I Have to Speak Up!”

Guest post by food allergy advocate Amanda Palin.

My name is Amanda Palin. I am a sophomore at Elon University. I love to dance (it’s one of my minors), watch football with friends, hang out with my sorority sisters, and raise my voice for advocacy groups and causes close to my heart. I have life-threatening allergies to peanuts and soy.

I always ask if something has nuts, read labels meticulously, and never eat anything I’m unsure of. I carry my two epinephrine auto-injectors wherever I go, in case of accidental exposure. My sorority sisters are great at having allergy-free options at events, but my biggest challenge has been navigating the dining hall. It can be tough, but I have to speak up! My school has done a good job supporting the needs of my fellow classmates with food allergies. When people ask me what it’s like to have a food allergy, I tell them to imagine watching your friends eat a gigantic piece of cake in front of you while you are on a strict diet! But I know I’m really fortunate that most students are understanding and helpful.

I’m so grateful for the resources FARE provides me and my family to know about clinical trials and the latest allergy news. Initiatives like the FARE College Food Allergy program are an immense help, driving advocacy for schools and public places to be allergy-friendly spaces. My brother and father also have food allergies, and the three of us have benefited tremendously from FARE’s efforts.  

FARE even introduced my mom to other food allergy parents who work hard to keep their kids safe and included – and most importantly – encourage us to be confident kids, teenagers, college students and adults undefined by our disease!

FARE built my confidence about having food allergies.

Thanks to FARE, I have had amazing opportunities to share my journey, help educate others about managing their allergies, and encourage the community in supporting food-allergic family and friends.

So yes, I have life-threatening allergies to peanuts and soy. But I am so much more than my allergies, and I am so grateful to have the support of an organization like FARE while I get to focus on being all that I can be!

FARE is grateful to Amanda and to everyone who supported FARE on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 27. Your donation to FARE advances research, education, advocacy and awareness on behalf of the food allergy community. Thank you for your support.