For a child with a food allergy, especially one that can cause severe or life-threatening reactions, living with it can be a burden. It can make that child feel different from everyone else, like an outsider. While we hear a lot about food allergies being on the rise, the fact is that most kids don’t have to live with them. For those who do, it can really help to see that there are other people out there going through the same thing. Famous kids with food allergies and celebrities or their children with food allergies can speak out, talk about how they live with their allergies and help ordinary kids feel a little bit better.
- Kenton Duty. This teenage Disney star plays the character Gunther on the popular show “Shake It Up,” and he lives with food allergies. In interviews, Kenton has spoken out about the fact that he is allergic to wheat and chocolate. He was also allergic to dairy but outgrew it as a younger child. Not only does this young star live with his allergies, he is also an advocate for other children with similar experiences. He has been active in trying to convince Congress to pass the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which would save lives by making sure more schools had access to epinephrine auto injectors. Kenton also speaks out about bullying and encourages kids with food allergies to speak up if they are being targeted by bullies.
- Drew Brees. NFL quarterback Drew Brees is a great role model for kids, and not only for being a successful athlete, a good leader and a volunteer in his community, but also because he lives with a food allergy. After not feeling well, Brees went to the doctor for allergy testing and discovered he had an allergy to nuts and was sensitive to dairy and gluten. He has been interviewed as saying that he wants to be a good role model for all children, but particularly that he hopes he can set a good example for kids with food allergies. He hopes that young people, with and without food allergies, can learn to make good choices about healthy eating.
- Holly Robinson Peete. This actress and reality star is not allergic, but is the mother of four kids with food allergies. Because of her experiences, she speaks out about food allergies and how kids and parents can best live with them and still enjoy eating and be safe. She talks about anaphylaxis and the importance of food allergy education. Having experienced anaphylaxis with her own children, she believes it is important to speak up and share with other parents how crucial it is to have epinephrine auto injectors always on hand. She also loves to share tips with parents and kids about how to make life easier with food allergies.
- Mason Disick. Little Mason is famous by default, the child of reality stars Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick. He also lives with a severe peanut allergy. His mother discovered his allergy one night when he was just 11 months old and after he had eaten some peanut butter. The experience resulted in a trip to the emergency room, where he was treated and released. Finding out early that a child has a food allergy allows parents to take steps to learn and prevent future reactions.
- Serena Williams. Many little girls look up to and admire Serena Williams for her athletic talents, successes, perseverance and hard work. Kids with food allergies may also admire her for living and thriving with a peanut allergy. One of the most common types of food allergies, a peanut allergy is not commonly outgrown. Most kids who have this allergy will continue to be allergic into adulthood, just like Williams. What she demonstrates, though, is that a food allergy doesn’t have to hold you back, which is a great message for little ones.
Living with food allergies isn’t always easy. For kids with food allergies it can seem like a great weight that holds them down. Seeing that there are celebrities and other children living with the same illness makes a big difference. With their advocacy, or just by example, these famous adults and children can help others learn to not just cope with food allergies, but to thrive.