Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

A Message from Miss Wisconsin's Outstanding Teen 2011

I am Annie Jorgensen, Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen 2011. “Be Aware, Prepare - Taking the Fear out of Food Allergies” isn’t just my platform, it’s my life. Dealing with food allergies is all I’ve ever known. The number one fear for many of those who live with food allergies is not the fear of having a reaction, but the fear of being accepted. It has been my personal experience that others are more accepting of your food allergy once you have accepted them yourself. I believe this is achieved when you are fully prepared and confident in any social situation. Attitude is contagious -- if you are comfortable in your own skin, challenges and all, others around you will embrace your food allergies and will be open to learning how to keep you safe.

By being aware and prepared for any situation that may arise, we develop skills like determination, respect, confidence, and, above all, compassion. I have used these skills to persevere through my own challenges to go after my personal goal in traveling nationally with the Miss America Organization. In my 16 years living with food allergies, I have learned many things, but most importantly, I have learned that all people have to face and overcome challenges in their lives. Living with restrictions doesn’t mean living a restricted life. As Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen, it is my mission to use my platform to encourage those with food allergies to pursue their dreams.

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