Food Allergy 101: The importance of awareness

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What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...

I’m sitting in the coffee shop creating today’s blog post when Mr. A, my food allergy, arrives.

“Understanding leads to empathy. And empathy leads to growth,” Mr. A says from over my shoulder reading the text on the graphic. “What the heck does that mean?”

I shake my head.

“It’s a phrase my parents taught me a long, long time ago,” I say. “It’s why I have this blog. It’s why I wrote my book. It’s why I am pleading with people to help get my Food Allergy CANpaign into schools.”

“What’s empathy?” he says with an odd look. “And how does it help you grow. That’s a dumb phrase. I don’t get it.”

“I didn’t think you’d understand it,” I say. “But that’s OK. This post isn’t meant for people like you.”

 JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at www.thelandofcan.com. Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.