I have been working on this behind the scenes for months and months and so excited to finally share this incredible news with you all… I am a new ambassador for the @anaphylaxis_campaign!!
From sitting at the allergy table and wishing I didn’t have allergies to becoming Ambassador of the biggest campaigning body for Anaphylaxis. Who would have thought?!
This means that I will be representing this organisation and supporting them over the coming months both as a business owner and as a person who has anaphylaxis. I’ll be sharing my story and, hopefully, I’ll be able to be in a position to influence real change for people like me!
What is anaphylaxis?
I’m including this because I must not assume as you read this that you know anything about anaphylaxis. A lot of people do not and that needs to change.
Basically it’s an extreme allergic reaction which takes place when someone is exposed to an allergen which causes a negative reaction in their body. It always requires emergency treatment.
Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds of contact with that allergen or it can occur two or three hours later. Knowing someone has the condition and then acting if an attack occurs, can literally save lives.
If you have a severe allergy to something in the past, when you are exposed again you can then go on to have an anaphylactic shock. Recognising what it is, is therefore very important.
Anaphylaxis can affect the airways, breathing and consciousness and a mixture of symptoms can occur. For example your tongue can swell, you can have difficulty swallowing or you may start wheezing or be struggling for breath. You can become clammy and confused and you can collapse if your blood pressure drops. Find out more about symptoms here https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Anaphylaxis-The-Facts-Feb-2019.pdf
The 14 most common allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin (flour & seeds), milk, molluscs, mustard, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soya, sulphur dioxide/sulphites.
As for me, I’m allergic to a lot of these and in my other life, as CEO of Creative Nature, all of our products are free of these allergens. You can see them here – https://www.creativenaturesuperfoods.co.uk
Why have I taken this step to become an Ambassador?
As many of you will already know, supporting people who have allergies and raising awareness is something very close to my heart and I am so happy to be able to support and advocate a charity that helps allergy sufferers up and down the country, just like me!
The anaphylaxis campaign is a charity that supports people living with allergies whether that be through education, alerts, or advice through their helpline. They also campaign for awareness at a national level seeking to effect change over time within our society.
I’ve done this because I believe passionately that there needs to be more awareness, more education and more change around supporting those who live with allergies – and those who have anaphylaxis as a result of those allergies.
Not everyone who has allergies and intolerance have anaphylaxis – those who do can live with fear constantly. For me, my allergies are largely (but not wholly around foods).
The fear I live with is constant and it is heightened when I step outside of my safe circles. For example I know that my family, my fiancé and my team at Creative Nature know about my allergies and they are very careful around what food is eaten or consumed in the building or around me. It’s become habit.
Yet what about fear of eating the wrong thing, fear of not being able to trust labelling, fear of eating somewhere where labelling isn’t clear or fear of eating in a restaurant, café, or in another country? What about the fear when a product that’s been previously safe for me, has an ingredient change and then it’s not safe? How will I know?
For people like me, knowing that if I come into contact with an allergen, it will soon affect my airways and my ability to breathe is something we have to remind ourselves of on a daily basis – and we also have to tell others when we step outside of our comfort zones.
The telling of others can be a challenge as some people don’t understand, they simply don’t know, for some they are unsympathetic – so it’s very easy for people like me to feel isolated, embarrassed, even humiliated.
You may have seen some examples of this when I took part in an episode of the Channel 4 Series Food Unwrapped which was aired a few weeks ago. It clearly illustrated the challenges faced by those who live with allergies and anaphylaxis – you can see it here – https://www.channel4.com/programmes/food-unwrapped-investigates/episode-guide/
Now for the really good news!
I’m so excited, honoured and proud to become a voice for the Anaphylaxis Campaign because I believe I can not only help with bringing about change with their amazing team – I can also spread a message of hope.
I truly believe that having allergies should not limit you in any way, and I want to spread that message of positivity in everything I do!
From having many life-threatening allergic reactions from such a young age it became very easy to believe that I would never be able to experience things in the same way as anyone else. I never thought I would make the Forbes 30 under 30 list or even be able to travel and explore new countries and cultures!
You can! By taking some steps, by planning some daily routines and by working with not against your allergies – you can do this too.
I’ve made a video about this new role which you can see here:
Hope you enjoy the video and thank you all for your amazing support.
If you ever need support or advice for severe allergies, visit the anaphylaxis campaign website at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk or call 01252 542 029.