Food Allergy CAN Openers: Those who give advocates a stage

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Food Allergy CAN Openers: Those who give Advocates a stage

Blog Post #241 — Last night I was making final edits on an “I AM. I CAN” banner for the upcoming FARECon Featuring Teen Summit. FARE’s annual education event runs November 2 – 4 in the Washington D.C. metro area.

My presentation will focus on empowering teens with food allergies to embrace who they are, not who they’re not. I’ll also be participating on a panel discussing dating. (Did my mom ask the coordinators to invite me on the dating panel?)

As I looked over the awesome FARECon agenda — as I continue to see all the food allergy awareness events organized by advocates across the nation — I want to say “Thank You” to those who work hard behind the scenes to give advocates the stages to share their messages. “Thank You” for giving people with food allergies a chance to be surrounded by others with food allergies.

Even though researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18, many young people with food allergies still feel as if they are the only ones. Take me, for instance. I know very few people who have food allergies, which is why I’m excited to stand in a room with others who understand my daily journey. “Thank You” to the CAN Openers at FARE and at all the food allergy awareness organizations who give us the opportunity to do it.

 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 and follow him @thelandofcan on Twitter and Instagram.