The Anaphylaxis Campaign, the only UK-wide charity operating solely for the growing numbers of people at risk from severe allergic reactions, has welcomed a new ambassador to help raise awareness and create a safer environment for those with allergies.
Julianne Ponan, who is well known among the allergic community as a professional speaker and founder of allergen-free food brand Creative Nature, has become the charity’s second ambassador.
In recent decades, the charity has seen an increase in allergy diagnoses in the population and the latest NHS Digital figures revealed that hospital admissions for anaphylactic shock in adults aged 19 and over have increased 27% since last year.
This worrying rise highlights the importance of continuing to raise awareness of severe allergies and educating the food industry, healthcare professionals and members of the public on the importance of allergy safety.
The campaign is excited to welcome Julianne, who already uses her own social media platforms to raise awareness of issues affecting the allergic community and whose own experience continues to inspire others.
Julianne was first diagnosed with allergies after collapsing with breathing difficulties whilst at nursery school. Tests revealed Julianne was allergic to all nuts, chickpeas, lentils, perfumes and cosmetics and throughout her life she has experienced numerous incidents of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition.
Julianne’s allergies are so severe that she has to be accompanied when walking through the duty-free section of airports, following an incident when she was hospitalised after hugging her father who was wearing a certain aftershave.
Growing up, eating became an issue as there was very little food which was ‘free-from’. The majority of food had to be cooked from scratch with every processed ingredient scrutinised for what it contained.
Despite these challenges, Julianne’s experiences became the inspiration behind the creation of her own award-winning allergen-free food company, Creative Nature and in 2019, Julianne was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30s to watch.
With 2021 just around the corner, we are working on a series of new educational and support initiatives which can help us to continue to support individuals and families. Julianne, along with our Youth Ambassador Dan Kelly, will be integral in moving these forward. Despite Covid restrictions, our helpline has remained busy as the pandemic presents new challenges for the allergic community and we will continue to provide support to those who need it.
Julianne Ponan said: ‘I’m humbled and honoured to be one of the founder ambassadors for the Anaphylaxis Campaign. I’m proud to be seen as someone who can campaign effectively for people like me who are always on alert in case we consume or come into contact with anything to trigger our life-threatening condition.’
‘We do need there to be more education and understanding around anaphylaxis and I hope to work positively and strategically with the team at Anaphylaxis Campaign to affect real change over time.’
Lynne Regent, CEO of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said: ‘We are excited to launch Julianne as our newest ambassador. Julianne is extremely passionate about the issues that affect the allergic community. Having experienced what it is like to live with severe allergies, Julianne understands the challenges for those at risk and will be a strong voice behind advocating for change and the work we do.’
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