Spotlight of the month : @Ash_friendly

This Months spot light focus is the wonderful Jay & Ash – aka @ash_friendly ❤⁠

It’s so lovely to be able to watch Jays journey and how he deals with allergies at such a young age. Ash inspires many people, one of the many things he has done was take part in a allergy awareness campaign with Allergy UK talking about “How allergies impact your mental health.” – The part of life no one gets to see. ⁠

  1. What are you allergic / intolerant to?

At the age of 7 months Ash was diagnosed with multiple food allergies including Dairy, Eggs, All nuts, Soya, Sesame and Shellfish. Ash also has environmental allergies to certain pollens, dust mites and mildew. He had his first asthma wheeze attack at the age of 5 months and his eczema symptoms started at 4 months old, Ash also has allergic rhinitis, contact allergy, asthma and eczema.

2.What is your favourite meal that you can safely eat?

Ash has quite a few favourite meals that he can eat safely, Ash loves homemade pizza, shepherd’s pie and homemade Nando’s which my husband learnt to cook from scratch due to the pandemic lock down. Pizza Express and Nando’s are his two favourite restaurants who have always catered to his dietary requirements and make sure the food is always cooked safely.

3.Why did you set up your blog /Instagram page and what do you hope to achieve?

In 2018 Ash took part in his first allergy awareness campaign with Allergy UK talking about “How allergies impact your mental health.” The part of life no one gets to see. We also set up an allergy support group with a vision of helping and supporting families and those living with food allergies.

In 2019 Ash hosted his first allergy awareness day at school so that his peers could learn and understand how serious allergies are, I believe if we educate our children, they will educate their parents something I have seen happening in Ash’s school since he has started to advocate for his allergies.

The past 5 years have been difficult for us as a family, my brother (Ash’s uncle) had been fighting cancer for the last 5 years and sadly in 2020 we lost him, just a week after his 39th birthday, right before the first lockdown. It was then we decided to set up our Instagram page @ash_friendly as a way of distraction for the trauma our family had been through. However, I also saw this as an opportunity, a new beginning in our life to start raising allergy awareness so that Ash can get involved and speak up about his allergies, to connect with families and individuals who were on the same journey. The allergy journey can truly feel so lonely.

Over the years we have really struggled with people understanding how serious allergies are especially in my community, there are people who still do not know what allergies are, our mission now is to educate as many people as we can to create a safer environment for children like Ash who are living with food allergies so that no child/ no individual feels excluded. I started my blog page & Instagram page to share our allergy journey, share recipes, holidays we have been to over that last 5 years which demonstrates that living with allergies does not mean you stop travelling all it takes is extra planning.

4. What is your favorite piece of advice for people that have allergies?

Allergies are part of you, but they do not define you. Speak up about your allergies with confidence, every person you speak to about your allergies you are educating them, create your support network surround yourself around people who are going to support you and who really understand how you feel and know that you are not alone.

5. We are people behind our allergies, what would you say is the one most interesting non allergy related fact about you?

Ash is the only Sikh boy in his school, he plays the guitar loves playing Minecraft on his Nintendo and he is an aspiring artist.