Food Allergy Can Opener: Michael and his CAN attitude


Recently, I received this message in my email.

Hi JJ, My name is Michael and I am 9 years old. I love my family, running, and raising awareness about food allergies. This year, my mom and I thought to combine my favorite things and host a FOOD ALLERGY 5K on May 27th at our Boca Raton YMCA. In the past, this race has hosted 300-400 runners and walkers. I hope to use the money raised to bring FOOD ALLERGY Awareness to my local schools by updating the libraries to include your book. 

YES! Once I read that email, I immediately connected Michael and his mom with Red Sneakers for Oakley and asked for a bit more information for today’s post.

“My favorite color is teal and I love to run. I am in 4th grade and my I like learning about history. I ran cross country for my school and our team won the state championships. My goal for the Food Allergy Race in May is to teach people about allergies. Most of the people that meet me ask, “What do you eat?” - “What happens if you drink milk?” They don’t understand what being allergic to food means. This year, my school has a new class called counseling. I think the teacher could help my school learn about food allergies during this class. I want to raise money for materials.”

I’ll be providing more information about the race soon. Awesome job, Michael! You inspire me. Thank you for all you do for all of us. That’s living in the Land of Can. You and your mom are Food Allergy CAN Openers!


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 Follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @thelandofcan.