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Oct/Nov 2013 Issue
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Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) offers teen programs at various food allergy conferences across the country. The organization also has a Teen Advisory Group and a Teen Food Allergy Support Group on Facebook. This year, FAREs Teen Summit is held in Washington, DC, on November 15-17. For additional information, visit foodallergy.org.
In addition, check out the following resources.
Food Allergies and Teenagers
This fall, Jayci Drew heads off for her freshman year at Penn State University with a plan (she’s studying petroleum and natural gas engineering) and a strong sense of self. She maintains that the experience of having celiac disease has empowered her in many ways.
“Without the bullying, I don’t believe I would have the self-confidence, integrity, sense of right and wrong or leadership skills that I have today,” she says. “That experience taught me to go above and beyond in tough situations, knowing that I can overcome them.”
The emotional support of family and friends has been critical to Drew’s inner strength. With this type of caring and involvement, many adolescents credit a diagnosis of celiac disease or food allergy with helping make them overall better people.
“You’re able to look at things differently. I don’t judge people the way I was judged when I first came out with celiac disease. I’m more open to others and I make healthier relationships,” Drew says. “It really builds your confidence and self-esteem to be able to say, ‘No, I’m not going to eat that. I’m going to stick to my special diet. This is my health and I know this is right.” LW
Associate editor Eve Becker is author of glutenfreenosh.com. Her daughter has celiac disease.