HOW YOU CAN HELP
Show your support for our patients and families by making a gift today.
Editor’s note: We are so grateful to Alexander for sharing his story with us. Alexander is in the midst of oral immunotherapy treatment for his food allergies. Our Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University is a pioneer, launching clinical trials to help children overcome their life-threatening allergies. The Center is currently led by acting director Sharon Chinthrajah, MD. Thank you for supporting important research that changes the lives of kids like Alexander.
Hi, my name is Alexander Robinson. I am a 7th grader at the American School in London. I want to share my experience with the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.
When I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. I ate some peanut butter, and I got a hive.
Having an allergy has impacted my life a lot. I haven’t been able to do a lot of things throughout my life because I feared a reaction. I felt scared whenever I ate something, and I always had to make extra-sure what I was eating was ok.
When I was 11 years old, I was introduced to a doctor, Dr. Nadeau from the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, who said that she could cure my allergy. I had never thought about this before, and I was amazed when I meet her. I met Dr. Nadeau through a friend of mine also doing the same treatment, and they introduced me to her.
As I started my treatment, I was very excited, but a little bit nervous because I was doing it from home, not with my doctor. Doing my treatment from London was a bit harder because I did it over Zoom and the phone. Sometimes it was a bit scary not having a doctor in the room, but I knew I could just call her if I needed.
Every day I eat a bit of peanut, and slowly increase the amount every few weeks. I do it after dinner but, because of this, I can’t play sports in the evenings, and I can’t shower at night.
Everything was going fine until a few months into my treatment when I switched to a new product of peanut. As soon as I ate it, I felt terrible. I throw up a lot and was in bed for a few days.
Even though I was very nervous after this experience, I kept going, and continued making progress, increasing my dosage.
About one year later though, I was at football (soccer) practice after having my dose, and my face started to feel a bit puffy, and my chest started to hurt a little bit. But I thought this was fine, so I carried on. About 10 minutes later, the coach told me to stop playing and said that my face was really swollen and told me to call my parents. As soon as they got there, I went straight to the emergency room. I was there for hours. I didn’t leave until very late at night. Even though I turned out to be ok, I was very frightened by this. What I learned was that I shouldn’t have my treatment right before I play sports, so now I know, and I can time it better.
After doing this treatment for a while, I feel much safer, and I can worry less. It makes me feel much better about being around food, because I know that I am protected. I think I am very lucky to be able to do this treatment because a lot of kids also have the same problem as me, and I don’t deserve it more than anyone else.
I want to say thank you to Stanford for helping me do this and for always making me feel safe. I also want to say thank you to the people who made this possible with research, and the support to keep it going. Finally, I want to say thank you to all the people who have donated their money to this cause. It really helped me, and I hope it can help a lot of other people too.
As I continue with this treatment, I know that I will become more and more safe. Even though it can be scary, and can make me not feel well, this treatment has really helped me, and I hope it can help many other people too.
When this treatment is finished, I hope to be able to eat peanuts freely. I don’t know what I want to do when I am older, but I know that my allergy won’t stop me.