by Rebekah W.
I was already sensitive to the looks I got because of my eczema. My skin looked red and raw all over and I could not stop itching. But when I talked about my allergies, I remember people staring at me again. This time for a different reason.
What do you eat?
But can't you drink milk?
You must be starving!
I was also really shy because of this. I did not want to talk to anyone about myself when all they did was ask me questions. I had good days and bad days. I was smaller than everyone else, missed a lot of school and spoke quietly. I had a boy in kindergarten say my skin was dirty and kids just didn't understand why I could or couldn't eat something they could. But I also made friends who did not judge me by my allergies and skin. They didn't look at me like I was weird or like something was wrong with me. At school, I met other kids who had allergies too. I didn't feel so alone. Some even helped me stay away from foods they knew I could react to.
About three years ago, I went to a hospital to get more allergy testing. They did both skin and blood tests. While I was there, I was so happy to find out that I had outgrown my soy and wheat allergies. My food options opened up! During my stay, I met several kids who had food allergies like me, and some had it even worse than I did. I made a friend from Arizona who had trouble with her stomach due to her food allergies. She was always sick. Another little boy from Chicago had allergies that caused his skin to react painfully. He cried a lot.
Meeting other kids with allergies helped me a lot. It made me see how important those with allergies are to each other. Talking to the kids, our doctors, and even our parents taught me that I want to help as many people as I can.
Now I know that my message is important and I teach other people about allergies through my social media. I can teach those who don't know about it. I can show others with allergies that what they feel, I have also felt. My allergies and eczema do not make me who I am but they have shown me that I can take the bad and make it into something good. I am no longer afraid of the looks and the questions because I now use them now to raise awareness.
About the Author: Rebekah is 12 years old and manages multiple food allergies. Thank you, Rebekah, for being a guest author on Food for Thought and sharing your story with us! You're a great example of using your challenges for good and helping others!
Food for Thought is the blog for the Food Allergy Alliance of the MidSouth. FAAM's mission is to provide food allergy support, education, advocacy, fellowship & fun for Memphis, TN and surrounding areas.
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