How I Beat My Food Allergies
May 29, 2013
By Will Fountain
Dr. (Robert) Wood is a life-changer. I was born with allergies to dairy, eggs and peanuts. I outgrew dairy, but not the others. After taking a small bite of a cookie when I was just 2 years old, I ended up at the emergency room barely able to breathe. After that, my parents took me to see Dr. Wood at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Wood and his nurses taught me how to be really careful about everything I ate. They knew that I would feel better and more confident when I had some control. They were right. I learned to read ingredients when I was really young. By the 3rd grade, I was so good at knowing what I could and couldn’t have that I no longer had to sit at the peanut-free table and could eat lunch with my friends.
When Dr. Wood and my parents asked if I wanted to be in an egg allergy study, I decided I wanted to try it. My parents would be less stressed and I would be able to eat things like cake and cookies. And I didn’t want to spend my life looking at every label for “trace ingredients” and wondering if something was safe.
I was one of the first kids enrolled in Dr. Wood’s egg allergy study. In his studies, you start with a very small amount of the food you’re allergic to and then gradually increase the quantities until your body gets used to it. I was really determined and followed all the rules.
After two years, I was completely cured of my allergy to egg. On the very last day of the egg study, Dr. Wood enrolled me in a peanut study. I passed my final peanut challenge last summer in the new [Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center] hospital building, which is really cool. Dr. Wood thinks I may be the first person in the world to have been cured of two food allergies!
Now, I can have ice cream cones and birthday cake at parties. To keep up my tolerance, I have to keep on eating peanuts and eggs.
To help Dr. Wood and other kids, I’ve spoken with medical students at Johns Hopkins about what it’s like to have food allergies and to be part of a study. My family has also helped with fundraisers to raise money for Dr. Wood’s studies, which cost a lot to run.
I hope someday all kids with food allergies can be cured – just like me.
This article first appeared in Hopkins Children’s Magazine, Spring 2013