Vanessa: When did you become aware of your food allergies?
Callum: I think you explained them to me when I was about three and I was going to a party or something.
V: What happened when you went to parties?
C: You had to go with me to check I was OK. You gave me my food and made sure I didn't eat anything I wasn't allowed, then stayed around in case I got wheezy. Now I'm older you can make sure I've got the right food and leave me there because I know what I shouldn't eat and if I need my inhaler.
V: Have your allergies affected your school life?
C: A bit - like when they give out sweets when it's
somebody's birthday; it's often chocolate and I won't be able to have it. But that doesn't bother me much. I have these allergies and I've got to live with them and I shouldn't complain.
V: Do you feel that you're treated differently by the other children?
C: No - only if people have got nuts and eggs they move away from me. I have to explain to them that it's only peanuts that affect me when I breathe them in - other foods are OK and they can stay near me.
V: You've recently grown out of your allergy to other nuts. How do you feel about that?
C: I feel that it's good in some ways but bad in others.
I felt it was like a world record that I was allergic to all nuts - and now I've lost it.
V: So your allergies make you feel special in some ways?
C: Yes - because it's very unusual to find someone else with so many. When I go into a new class I tell every one I've got allergies just in case they eat peanut butter and sit next to me or something like that. Two other children pretended they had food allergies - I didn't like that because I felt they were kind of making fun of it.
V: Are there other children at school with food
C: I know two people who have peanut allergy which makes me feel better because they're more like me.
V: Do you like going to cafés and restaurants?
C: I don't like going to strange restaurants because things happen, like once they said I could have the raspberry sorbet then when I was starting to eat it they whipped it away because they said it had egg in it. I do like going to Pizza Express because they do me pizza with out cheese and I can have their sorbet. I liked the Tex- Mex place even though they made a lot of fuss before they gave me any food.
V: What would you like to happen in the future?
C: I would like to grow out of my egg and milk allergies so that I can have cake, puddings and ice cream. I'd also like to have soya because it's in my Easter eggs and if I eat them I'll get eczema. But if I grew out of all of them it would feel weird not having to check ingredients and stuff all the time.
First published in 2007
Click here for more personal histories
Back to top