So exactly why did I find myself involved in this campaign to help organise the forthcoming Fundraising Dinner at St. John’s College Cambridge …
Approximately 4 years ago I sat in a seminar listening to Michelle Berriedale- Johnson as she talked to the delegates about the most vulnerable group of individuals with food allergies.
These are 15-24-years old, young adults attending college or leaving home for the first time to go to university. This group of young people are starting to become independent, buying food, eating out, drinking alcohol
and mixing with new friends. They may feel awkward within their new peer group, feeling the “odd one out” requiring a specific diet, not being able to walk into any restaurant without checking first if they can cater for customers with allergies. Shopping for food at university and sharing a kitchen with fellow students and trying to explain the dangers of cross-contamination with messy flat mates and a pile of unwashed pans!
This talk struck a chord with me as my teenage daughter who has food allergies/intolerances was planning to attend university and in my role as Head of Catering at a large University, I was on a mission to ensure that my team would be able to provide safe food for all our customers including those with a food allergy.
Moving on 4 years, I now run my own business JACS Ltd and I provide training, advice, practical workshops, presentations and audits for anyone in the business of providing food to customers.
Already supporting the Anaphylaxis Campaign, I was introduced to Emma Dellar who has worked tirelessly in her role as College Nurse at St. John’s College, Cambridge along with her fellow nurses, Cambridge College Nurse Association (CNNA) and they have managed to put a special agreement in
place whereby they are able to have Adrenaline auto injector devices (AAI) available for use in an emergency.
Students often forget to carry their AAI devices with them as they are bulky to carry, not cool and they think it will never happen to them. Within a 2 year period the AAI have been used 4 times … imagine the consequences if emergency medication was not available.
At present schools are able to stock generic AAI devices if they choose to do so, for use in an emergency. Colleges and Universities are not permitted to do this unless a special arrangement is in place. Re-read the first paragraph of this blog … the most vulnerable group of individuals do not
have access to emergency medication.
Emma has co- written an open letter to Department of Health and Government body the MHRA to lobby Parliament to change this and we are both working with Anaphylaxis Campaign to support changes to the current law. We are co-founders of TheAWord and the fundraising dinner will help us to provide the funds necessary to take this to the next step.
St. Johns College is the most amazing venue to hold the dinner to celebrate the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s 25- year anniversary. This magnificent dining hall reminiscent of Harry Potter’s world will be an unforgettable experience. We have 3 amazing speakers who will provide interesting and informative talks to raise awareness of the issues and how we are trying to raise awareness in Colleges and Universities. The black- tie event will also have entertainment and raffle prizes and a first class 4 course dinner with wines and port.