My Life, Your Hands

This Christmas, people who live with severe food allergies, like Ella, put their life in your hands. Help us to get allergies taken seriously so we can keep others safe.

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Did you know that in the UK, more than two million people are living with food allergies and face daily challenges just to keep themselves safe?

My Life, Your Hands is Allergy UK’s 2023 Christmas fundraising campaign. It shares Ella’s inspiring story, to raise awareness of severe food allergies, the impact they can have, and how to support those in need.

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Ella's Story

Watch Ella's personal story, detailing her encounters with anaphylaxis due to severe allergies. It highlights the critical need for increased awareness about anaphylaxis. Ella's narrative serves as a poignant reminder of the urgency in recognising, treating, and raising awareness about anaphylaxis to save lives and ensure proper support for individuals facing severe allergies.

Like any 22-year-old woman, Ella enjoys shopping, going to the cinema, having cocktails, and eating out with her friends. However, eating out can sometimes come with unforeseen dangers, as it did on a night out last year. It should have been an unremarkable night out with friends. Instead, everything quickly descended into the stuff of nightmares for Ella and her family. Born with an allergy to cow’s milk, Ella knows what precautions to take when eating away from home. So when she met with her friends for a night out, she made sure she was carrying her auto-adrenaline injector (AAI). At the end of the night, when Ella and her friends went to grab something to eat, Ella made sure to explain her allergies to the restaurant. To make doubly sure, she asked for a vegan burger.

Yet, immediately upon eating it she noticed the onset of a severe anaphylactic reaction and administered her first AAI pen. However, shortly after Ella collapsed on the ground and fell unconscious. Thanks to Ella’s foresight, her friend knew what to do during an anaphylactic reaction and was able to administer the second AAI. The friend also called an ambulance and notified Ella’s parents.

The attending paramedics thought Ella was suffering the effects of drink or drugs, and so made her walk. This added further strain to Ella’s heart and put her at severe risk of cardiac arrest. When her parents arrived at the hospital they spotted Ella sitting on a chair and realised she was suffering a further anaphylactic reaction. Ella’s dad picked her up and ran into resus. The family had to wait to see what the outcome would be.

We could have lost her. And I feel like we nearly did. And that’s not ok – Sarah, Ella’s mum.

Donate to Allergy UK and support people like Ella

Here at Allergy UK, we couldn’t agree more with Sarah, Ella’s mum. It’s not ok to nearly lose someone to a food allergy. This is why Allergy UK has launched the Christmas fundraising campaign My Life, Your Hands.

It is thanks to Ella’s friend who knew what to do during an anaphylactic reaction that Ella can share her story today. We need more friends like Ella’s, so in 2024 Allergy UK will be on a mission to make more young people allergy aware and educated on signs of anaphylaxis and what to do.

Please help us do this by donating to our campaign, My Life, Your Hands. Your donation, no matter how big or small, can make a significant difference. This Christmas, there really is no greater gift. Thank you.

Donate to Ella's campaign today

Did you know....

  • 76%

    of young people living with food allergies feel like their allergies are not taken seriously enough.

    Allergy UK, 2021

  • 74%

    of adults living with food allergies have one or more severe allergic reactions.

    Allergy UK, 2021

  • 108%

    Increase of allergy and anaphylaxis hopsital admissions since 2002.

    MHRA, 2023

Shop Christmas Cards

This year, Allergy UK is offering five fantastic new cards which not only contain festive well wishes, but also help to raise awareness of allergy amongst the people we know.

From traditional Christmas scenes, to our own fun Allergy UK branded designs, each card contains a message about Allergy UK, the work that we do and why we think it’s time for the UK to take allergy seriously.

Buy your cards today.


Living with anaphylaxis

Living with anaphylaxis

If you have a serious allergy or have experienced anaphylaxis before, it’s important to try to prevent future episodes. Knowing how to recognise the early signs of anaphylaxis and administer AAI’s can save a life. Find out more with our factsheets, how to videos and leaflets.

Adrenaline auto-injectors: How, and when to use them

Adrenaline auto-injectors: How, and when to use them

If you have been prescribed an Adrenaline Auto-Injectors (AAIs), make sure you carry it with you at all times. Do not rely on someone else picking it up for you, or there being one available. Age appropriate education tailored to children on looking after their AAI is a positive way of teaching the importance of carrying one at all times.

Reducing the risk of having a serious allergic reaction

Reducing the risk of having a serious allergic reaction

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency, common causes of anaphylaxis include food, wasp/bee venom (stings) and medication. Recognising the signs and symptoms early and treating quickly with the medicine ‘adrenaline’ is vital to save life.

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