Hi, my name is Leander and I’ve been living with a peanut and egg allergy for 18 years. Early 2019 I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend the National Allergy Strategy’s 250k Youth Camp.
I was offered something I’d never had the chance to do – surround myself with so many different people who’ve shared the same challenges as I have over the past 18 years. At the camp, I was greeted by dietitians, allergists, nurses and fellow campers who also live with allergies. Camp activities included rock climbing, trapeze school, kayaking, team games and education sessions lead by health professionals. During every one of these activities we were able to share our stories and learn from each other. We were able to have relaxed one on one conversations with health professionals where we could discuss our own specific situation. No stone was left unturned.
Before this camp, everything I’d learnt was from myself, my parents and many, many different doctors. My parents taught me to be cautious and my doctors told me not to eat anything out of home. But these people didn’t actually have any food allergies. I always wanted to live the easy life and not worry about my allergies to a point that they would take over my life.
On this camp I finally met people who felt the same as I did, as well as others who could teach me how to be safe while still living the good worry free life. That is something I will forever be grateful for. What I learnt on camp I will take on for the rest of my endeavors. One of the biggest things I gained from this camp is a hub of people; friends that I can turn to for knowledge when I need help (we’re still in contact!). The camp provided a portal of information about real scenarios and situations that I have and will experience throughout life that my doctors were never able to help me with.
The best part? I got all this without worrying about what food I was eating, as all allergies were catered for!