For months, behind the scenes, our CEO Julianne Ponan has been talking to the country’s leading organisation around anaphylaxis about becoming an ambassador and today is the official announcement!
From sitting at the allergy table and wishing she didn’t have allergies to becoming Ambassador of the biggest campaigning body for Anaphylaxis. Who would have thought?!
This means Julianne will be representing this organisation and supporting them over the coming months both as a business owner and as a person who has anaphylaxis. She will be sharing her story and, hopefully, be in a position to influence real change for people like her and some of our clients who suffer from allergies and anaphylaxis!!!
What is anaphylaxis?
Do you know anything about anaphylaxis? A lot of people do not and that needs to change.
Basically it’s an extreme allergic reaction which takes place when someone is exposed to an allergen which causes a negative reaction in their body. It always requires emergency treatment.
Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds of contact with that allergen or it can occur two or three hours later. Knowing someone has the condition and then acting if an attack occurs, can literally save lives.
If you have a severe allergy to something in the past, when you are exposed again you can then go on to have an anaphylactic shock. Recognising what it is, is therefore very important.
Anaphylaxis can affect the airways, breathing and consciousness and a mixture of symptoms can occur. For example your tongue can swell, you can have difficulty swallowing or you may start wheezing or be struggling for breath. You can become clammy and confused and you can collapse if your blood pressure drops. Find out more about symptoms here https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Anaphylaxis-The-Facts-Feb-2019.pdf
The 14 most common allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin (flour & seeds), milk, molluscs, mustard, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soya, sulphur dioxide/sulphites.
As for our CEO Julianne, she is allergic to a lot of these and as a result all of our products are free of these allergens – as well as being nutritious, delicious, vegan friendly and suitable for all.
Why has Julianne chosen to become an Ambassador?
As many of you will already know, supporting people who have allergies and raising awareness is something close to her heart. The Anaphylaxis Campaign is a charity that supports people living with allergies whether that be through education, alerts, or advice through their helpline. They also campaign for awareness at a national level seeking to effect change over time within our society.
Julianne believes passionately that there needs to be more awareness, more education and more change around supporting those who live with allergies – and those who have anaphylaxis as a result of those allergies.
Not everyone who has allergies and intolerance have anaphylaxis – those who do can live with fear constantly. For Julianne her allergies are largely (but not wholly around foods).
The fear she lives with is constant and it is heightened when she steps outside of her safe circles. For example she know her family, fiancé and team here at Creative Nature know about her allergies and they are very careful around what food is eaten or consumed in the building. It’s become habit and almost muscle memory for us all (though you have to be wary of becoming complacent around allergies and anaphylaxis).
Yet what about fear of eating the wrong thing, fear of not being able to trust labelling, fear of eating somewhere where labelling isn’t clear or fear of eating in a restaurant, café, or in another country? What about the fear when a product that’s been previously safe, has an ingredient change and then it’s not safe? How will she know? How will you know?
For people like Julianne knowing that if she comes into contact with an allergen, it will soon affect her airways and her ability to breathe is something we have to remind ourselves of on a daily basis – and we also have to tell others when we step outside of our comfort zones with Julianne, or anyone else who has severe allergies.
The telling of others can be a challenge as some people don’t understand, they simply don’t know, for some they are unsympathetic – so it’s very easy for people with anaphylaxis to feel isolated, embarrassed, even humiliated.
You may have seen some examples of this when Julianne took part in an episode of the Channel 4 Series Food Unwrapped which was aired a few weeks ago. It clearly illustrated the challenges faced by those who live with allergies and anaphylaxis – you can see it here – https://www.channel4.com/programmes/food-unwrapped-investigates/episode-guide/
Now for the really good news!
Julianne’s overriding message is, though, one of hope. She believes that having allergies should not limit you in any way, and she wants to spread that message of positivity.
From having many life-threatening allergic reactions from such a young age it became very easy to believe that she would never be able to experience things in the same way as anyone else. She never thought she would make the Forbes 30 under 30 list or even be able to travel and explore new countries and cultures! She never dreamed she’d create a challenger brand free-from food company for people like her and take it to new heights.
Creative Nature is multi-awardwinning for its team, its products and for Julianne herself. We wonder what advice she’d now give her teenage self when she started to face the world as a severely allergic young woman in a world not designed for those with such complex allergies.
Julianne’s message is ‘yes you can!’. By taking some steps, by planning some daily routines and by working with not against your allergies – you can do this too.
Julianne has made a video about this new role which you can see here
Hope you enjoy the video and thank you all for your amazing support for both Julianne and also for Creative Nature as a brand. We care about all of our customers and we’re grateful for your support, your custom and your empathy.
If you ever need support or advice for severe allergies, visit the anaphylaxis campaign website at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk or call 01252 542 029.