A College Kid On the Frontline of Peanut Allergies
Written by Kevin, a student at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL.
Growing up with a Peanut Allergy was one of the hardest things to deal with.
First off, my parents had no clue what a Peanut Allergy was in the 90′s, because nobody had one, or it was just uncommon. They had to change my diet as they were raising me. They had to read and re-read ingredients on food.
Food, such as bread, surprised them because it was manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts. As I went through school, my Mom became a PTA member just so she knew what kind of treats were going to be served at a school event.
I was the only child in my Elementary School that had a peanut allergy when I was attending there. As a precaution, my Mom would provide my teachers with a spare set of snacks for me during a classmate’s Birthday Party.
Moving into Middle School, I was still the only kid who had a peanut allergy. But, other kids had milk, tree nuts, and gluten allergies. Peanut free tables were there for me to use during lunch at school. I never sat at them because I would be the only one, and I knew I would get made fun of. I really thought it was unnecessary for me because the people I sat with at lunch were old enough to understand that I couldn’t eat peanuts.
Then High School came along, and there out of 3,000 teens, I was the only one with a peanut allergy. I remember going to the nurse on the first day of Freshman year, and being told that I was the only one with a peanut allergy at the school and that I wouldn’t be able to take any cooking classes because the teacher’s wouldn’t supplement what they were cooking for the one guy with a peanut allergy.
Each year went by at the school, and I had to deal with the food at the school that had peanuts, so I just brought a lunch every day. There were plenty of other allergies at the school. There was dairy, gluten, tree nuts, soy, and latex. Those people’s needs were met, but mine weren’t. All of this changed by the time I became a senior. The company that supplied the lunches at school became peanut free and the teachers became more aware of the peanut allergy because of the outbreak of the allergy in the district.
When I graduated High School, I was still the only teen who had a peanut allergy in that large school, but now there quiet a few peanut allergies at that school this year, from what I have heard.
Living with this allergy has been really hard, and my places of going out to eat are limited. I decided to advocate this issue because I wanted more people aware, especially parents, on this issue.
I know there are more and more peanut allergies out there, but I wasn’t in High School too long ago, and I wasn’t treated the way I would like to have been. I don’t want other kids to go through what I did. Now that I’m advocating this, I feel like I have gotten the word out to people in my community. I’ll be adding more blogs to the 3 I already have. I just want to raise awareness of this issue so I can help families deal with this allergy like I have been doing for the past 19 years.
Written by Kevin, a student at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL. Kevin invites you to follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/paaafp.