My Food Allergy Journey: Ella’s Story
Guest post by Ella McNiece
My name is Ella McNiece and I am allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.
At the age of 18 months, I had my first reaction to milk. I broke out in hives and was brought to a doctor. After testing, I was diagnosed with food allergies to milk, egg, soy, wheat, strawberries, shellfish, seafood, sesame, legumes, tree nuts and peanut. Since then I have outgrown everything except tree nuts and peanut. Recently, I have begun allergy testing for different tree nuts, something I never thought possible.
I have moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island and back again. I have seen multiple doctors, switched schools and had the support of different friends throughout my life. Through it all, my family and FARE have always been there on my food allergy journey.
As I grew up and outgrew certain food allergies, I learned different ways to live well with my food allergies and be an advocate in my community. Whether it was printing meal cards, bringing safe snacks to events, checking labels or learning about recent food recalls, FARE has helped make the process easier. As I began advocating for myself more during middle school, this information and support became more valuable than ever. Access to information and resources from FARE has helped make handling my food allergies simpler and more manageable.
In 2014, I attended my first Teen Summit in Washington D.C. Teen Summit opened me up to new possibilities and ideas for handling my food allergies. In addition to all the useful information I received, I made some amazing friends that I continue to talk to today. I have continued to attend Teen Summit and in 2016, I became a Teen Advisor for New England. This past May I had the opportunity, along with some other Teen Advisory Group (TAG) members, to speak to Massachusetts’ legislators about the importance of food allergies around Food Allergy Awareness Week. We discussed the role of epinephrine auto-injectors in school, as well as the importance of educating our communities about the seriousness of food allergy. It was an activity I was proud to be a part of. The events and opportunities made available by FARE allowed me to become involved in my community and helped make a difference in the food allergy world.
My hope for the future is that people of all ages can learn to advocate for themselves while spreading awareness of food allergies to others. I found that voice with FARE and will continue talking to people about the seriousness of food allergies and the role all of us can play in educating others. My hope is that with your support, others receive the resources they need along their food allergy journey to live safe, happy lives. Please help others like me with a donation to FARE today.
Please consider a tax-deductible donation this holiday season to power initiatives in research, education, advocacy and awareness that impact people like Ella at every age and stage of the food allergy journey.