Whether eating in the lunchroom or playing team sports, navigating food allergies at school can sometimes be hard for kids. Nicole Dunham and Ryan Smith each came up with fun and positive solutions to help meet their needs at school, and in turn were able to raise awareness about food allergies and make a difference. We hope you’ll share these stories with your children or friends to give them ideas of how they can inspire improvements and spread the word about food allergies in their schools too!
High school senior Nicole Durham, a cross country and track runner, didn’t let the abundance of shelled peanuts at sporting events stop her running career – even after having breathing issues that forced her to withdraw from a state race. This setback prompted her to focus her senior project on peanut allergy, with the goal of educating, creating awareness, and raising money to help researchers find a cure. As her final project, she successfully lobbied administrators to restrict the sale of shelled peanuts in her school district and at school activities. She also raised $1,000 for FARE by selling “No Nuts Allowed” water bottles, hosting a sweatpants/gym short day fundraiser, and collecting personal donations.
First-grader Ryan Smith won a raffle at his school to be “Principal for the Day.” That day, teachers could wear casual clothes if they made a donation to the charity of Ryan’s choosing. He chose FARE without hesitation, and collected extra donations from his 9-year-old sister and family. In addition to raising funds, the Smith family also helped push the school to offer milk-free pizza in the cafeteria. Even though they hit a few snags along the way, Ryan wasn’t willing to give up on working with the school nutrition office to provide a safe pizza. Now he and other students in the school with milk allergy can enjoy pizza along with their friends.
Nicole and Ryan should be proud of themselves for making a lasting impact on their schools that will help students with food allergies for years to come.