Teens in the Real World
  Food Allergies in the Real World  

The New Kid

By Corrine. Age 13. Allergic to peanuts, walnuts, crab, and shrimp.

 

My friends have always been amazing with my food allergy. Ever since I was a kindergartener and I ate my first lunch without my parents, my friends have been there for me. At first, I ate outside of the cafeteria at a small table with one or two friends (one of them also had a food allergy). As I went into second and third grade, I sat at a regular lunch table next to my friend with food allergies. Both of us packed our own lunches to avoid the risky school lunches.

When my family moved from Illinois to Connecticut, one of the main concerns was about my food allergy. It definitely soothed us to discover that all hot lunches were peanut-free. My family and teachers helped design a peanut-free table for me, located in a corner of the cafeteria, but after that it was all up to my third grade peers. Of course, for the first week, everyone wanted to sit with the “new kid,” but after that all died down my true friends emerged – three of them – and up until now, they have all continued to sit with me at my peanut-free table. This year, many of my newer friends (and of course my old ones) sat with me at my first non-peanut-free table.

I know for sure that a few of my friends would be able to use my autoinjector if it was necessary. No matter how terrified they might feel, if any one of us is in danger, the rest will do everything in their power to keep them safe. The same applies with my food allergy. All of the friends who sit at my table are aware of my allergy, and that is the way I feel most comfortable.

One of my friends (who I have known since I moved here) has not eaten peanuts (in any form) since third grade, and we’re going into eighth grade! So when I go to her house, I know that there will be some safe snack there for me; in fact, her mom usually goes out of her way to have something safe for me. Most of my other friends might not go out of their way to have something safe, but they always look for something that is safe for me and then make me read the label three times just to make sure nothing happens to me. In conclusion, I think my food allergies have helped me make real best friends. Who else but a true friend would shove a needle into your thigh?

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