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Food Allergy "Pen Pals"

With Julia at FAREcon 2018

Recently on Instagram, I saw some information for a program called “Bee a Pen Pal”. This program, run by Sarah from the blog Girl Behind the Hive, is designed for those with food allergies to meet new people who also have food allergies through email. Those who signed up to participate would be randomly assigned with a food allergy pen pal who they would email and get to know. I found this idea to be really creative, so I signed up for it and a few days later got the email with information on my pen pal.

My pen pal is my friend Julia! I have known Julia since 2014 and found it amazing, (and also hilarious) that we were randomly assigned to one another. I messaged her right away with a screenshot of the email and couldn’t believe that out of all the people who signed up for the program, that we were given each other.

I met Julia in November 2014 at my first FARE Teen Summit (which was her second) and after that we would attend three more FARE Teen Summits together. At the last two (2018 and 2019) we attended we both were speakers and Julia shared her incredible experiences of going away to college and traveling out of the country.

Julia and I are almost the same age and we both have similar allergies. We are both allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish. The difference in our allergens is that she is allergic to seeds and I am allergic to legumes.

Julia is the owner of the website, blog and YouTube channel Julia’s Guide to Food Allergies. Julia posts wonderful and tactical advice on her blog for those with food allergies and also provides a detailed list of food allergy resources and recipes for teens and young adults with food allergies. She is an incredible advocate for food allergies, as she even dedicated her final girl scout project to educating others in her community on food allergies.

This "Bee a Pen Pal" program made me realize that Julia and I have already been food allergy "pen pals" since we first met. Through the years we have kept in touch through messaging and social media, like Facebook and Instagram, and look forward to seeing each other at FARE’s events. Since 2014 I find it to be really exciting to have a friend who also has food allergies and really just gets what it’s like to live life with food allergies. Julia is that friend and I am so thankful.

With the quarantine we are planning to work together online this summer to create some new and exciting content on our websites, social media and on Julia’s YouTube Channel. Julia’s previous YouTube videos are very informative, and also really fun. I haven’t done videos or podcasts that much before, so I am very excited to learn from Julia and work with her. With all of this writing, blogging, vlogging, and other content to create together, let us get started on what will be the most exciting food allergy summer to remember.


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