In the run-up to Anaphylaxis Awareness Week (4–10 May), the Anaphylaxis Campaign, a UK charity that supports people affected by severe allergies, has launched their new youth ambassador Dan Kelly, founder of the ‘May Contain’ blog (Instagram @_maycontain) and podcast. Dan will be working with the charity to support and empower young people living with severe allergies.
Young people are frequently recognised as being the most at risk of anaphylaxis due to a decrease in parental support as they reach adulthood, increased risk-taking as they experiment with new foods and travel alone or with friends, as well as a reluctance to share information or carry their adrenaline auto-injectors – the life-saving medication used to treat anaphylaxis.
The campaign is responding to increasing demand for support for young people aged 11–17 years and in partnership with Dan, a long-time follower and supporter of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, they hope to provide more support for this at-risk group.
Dan has been living with a severe nut allergy since the age of five and at thirteen years old, he first became involved with the Anaphylaxis Campaign by attending one of their teen activity days. Dan has since used his experience of growing up with an allergy to launch a blog which helps young people to feel more confident when it comes to managing their allergies.
As part of the charity’s 2020 programme of support, they are putting communications to young people at the forefront of their agenda. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, they were developing a calendar of activity days whereby teens can meet, share their experiences and increase their confidence. Dan will be integral in these events once restrictions have been lifted.
Dan will be kicking off his youth ambassador role by launching the charity’s Awareness Week social media campaign with a short video describing how living with allergies has had a positive impact on his life. We are encouraging other social media users to get involved with the campaign to help share messages of strength during these challenging times. To get involved, simply record a short video message finishing the statement: ‘Living with allergies has helped me to…’ and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Kelly, Anaphylaxis Campaign youth ambassador and founder of May Contain, said: ‘Over 14 years ago I attended one of the Anaphylaxis Campaign teenagers’ activity away holidays in the Lake District. I still remember this holiday so vividly, it was the first time I didn’t feel alone and met other teenagers my age living with severe allergies.
‘I’m really grateful to be in the position I am today to work alongside the Anaphylaxis Campaign as their first-ever youth ambassador. I’m incredibly proud to be working with such an incredible charity, which has taught me during my teenage years to embrace my allergy. I am looking forward to giving back and working alongside other teenagers growing up with severe allergies over the next coming months.’
The Anaphylaxis Campaign already provides a wealth of resources and information aimed at young people, and now working alongside Dan, they hope to develop these initiatives further with the aim of becoming the ‘go-to’ charity for young people living with severe allergies across the UK.
Lynne Regent, CEO of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said: ‘It is wonderful to finally launch Dan as our youth ambassador, not only as he brings the first-hand experience of growing up with allergies, but also his ability to engage with young people and reach this audience on their level. His following on social media is a testament to his fantastic insight and understanding of others as well as his passion for bringing severe allergies into the conversation and removing the stigma that surrounds them.”