Fight the Stigma
In the first weekend of November I went to my fourth Food Allergy Research and Education Teen Summit Conference. This was my second year in a row speaking at the conference and it was very exciting. Last year I gave a presentation on studying and working in the food industry with food allergies. This year I gave a presentation on attending community college and commuting to college with food allergies.
My mom and I have gone to these conferences together every year and this year we left a day early, which happened to be on Halloween. When we arrived to the hotel on the night of Halloween we ended up walking the entire hotel because it was so huge. This was my first year not trick or treating or celebrating Halloween, but it was so exciting to be away from home and take a break from reality.
This semester has been one of the most challenging semesters I have had and it was so incredible to be able to just go away for a weekend and leave my usual reality behind. I would do anything now to go back to Washington DC and relive that weekend all over again.
The best part of the whole weekend was seeing Julia and Sophie in person!
Throughout the past year I read Julia's posts on her website and we also message back and forth as well. Every Teen Summit Conference I have been to, Julia has also been there and I can't imagine them without her. Julia is such an amazing friend and I loved getting to spend so much time with her during the weekend!
Sophie I met exactly a year ago at the 2018 Conference and to see her again this year in 2019 was incredible. Sophie has been posting on this website for a whole year now, which is very exciting as she has offered and brought a lot of new ideas and perspectives. I am so incredibly grateful for Sophie and our friendship!
I also got to reconnect with Allison, Anna, Amelia, Celeste, Josephine and Sarah! This year I also met many new people including Melissa, Madigan and Maddie!
At this year's innovation tank Madigan won with her medic alert temporary tattoos, called "H&H Meditat". She gave out samples at the conference and they were a teal color and said "Medical Alert Food Allergy". I put mine on my wrist the second day of the conference and it stayed for at least a week and what's left of it is still there as I love the idea of it so much.
I've always disliked wearing the allergy bracelets and to have a temporary tattoo there with the information I think is such a wonderful idea. I am so happy that she won and hope that her temporary tattoos will be for sale soon.
On Saturday and Sunday morning Melissa offered yoga classes in the rooftop bar lounge, which was really cool as we got to see the sunrise as we did yoga. Being able to still exercise even while being away from home was really important to me and I am so grateful these sessions were offered.
This year the conference was really fun and exciting as I got to see so many friends, have new experiences and learn even more about food allergies. It was so nice to be able to travel for a weekend, make connections and feel like a part of the food allergy community.