Jasmine's Story

Hi, my name is Jasmine and I have been living with my allergy for almost 24 years! My allergy journey started when I was 5 years old. I had eaten a raisin which had been in a large tub of mixed nuts. I had an anaphylactic reaction and later, testing showed that I had a severe allergy to all nuts and peanuts. I was given two epipens which I was told to carry with me at all times. This was when the real learning started!

We had to learn how to navigate life with an allergy from scratch. As I was so young, a lot of this responsibility was placed upon my family members. I remember that lots of time was spent reading labels and I have clear memories of my nan always making me my own plate of food to take to a party so I wouldn’t miss out! At school, I used to have a packed lunch and my own snack box was kept in my classroom cupboard so I could have my own safe food at snack time.

As I became older, I had to learn how to take full responsibility for my allergy. Becoming a teenager was a tricky time, I had to learn how to deploy the strategies my parents had taught me when out and about on my own and with friends. This was definitely a learning curve and one which I really found tricky at first.

When I was around 15 years old, I started to become very anxious about eating lots of foods. I restricted myself massively and would only eat around two-three foods. I felt that I couldn’t trust food labels and I was forever ringing up companies to double check that their food was safe. It wasn’t until I found a Facebook group of others with similar allergies that I started to become more confident. I learnt that I was really restricting myself when I didn’t need to. It was brilliant to speak with others and my confidence grew from then. I made a commitment to myself that I would not let my allergy restrict me anymore.

Don’t let your dreams, be dreams.

When I went to university at 18, this was another steep learning curve! I had to make sure my flat mates were fully aware of my allergies, and they understood how severe a reaction could be even from the slightest amount of cross-contamination. I made sure that my food was kept separate and that I had my own cutlery and utensils. As I had lived in a nut-free household for the past 18 years, it was scary to now be around lots of different types of foods. Thankfully, my flat mates were brilliant and completely understood the importance of not having nut products around me.

One challenge of living with an allergy is going on holiday! However, I absolutely love travelling and have never let it stop me. With the fantastic support of my partner, we have travelled frequently, and this is where we’ve created some of our favourite memories. We have now travelled globally including Australia, Singapore, America and Jamaica. With the right research, you can absolutely navigate allergies abroad safely.

I love the quote “don’t let your dreams, be dreams” – to me this means, don’t let your allergies define you. Plan, prepare, do your due diligence, and remember that life is most certainly for living!

I am really passionate about supporting other young people with their allergies. I truly understand how difficult it can be but I want to show how taking small steps in the right direction can really change how you feel about living life with an allergy.